When you have diabetes, it’s pivotal to take care of your kidneys as they perform an important job of filtering waste and removing it from the blood, maintaining water balance, taking care of bone health, vitamin D synthesis, and erythropoietin, a substance which maintains haemoglobin level. But diabetes can damage the kidneys and may cause progressive loss of its function. This becomes the leading cause of kidney failure globally. People with advance kidney failure need either dialysis or kidney transplant. However, one can slow down the progression of kidney damage and keep it from getting worse by making certain modifications in their lifestyle, diet and being vigilant towards their health besides consulting a nephrologist.
DIABETICS TEND TO HAVE A HIGH BLOOD GLUCOSE LEVEL IN WINTER
Care during winters is especially essential for diabetes patients. The lack of sunlight means increased levels of stress and tiredness. Excess winters stress and strain the body. This stress often releases hormones such as adrenalin and cortisol. These survival hormones cause the liver to release more glucose for energy, which can result in higher-than-normal blood sugar levels. Similarly, the cold weather can predispose to clotting as the blood becomes thicker in this season coupled with diminished physical activity. Such conditions can pose serious threats to the lives of diabetic patients who also tend to have increased blood pressure.
Besides the temperature and weather conditions, blood sugar depends upon hydration, exercise, and the food you eat, but hydration is probably the single most important element to help us stay healthy outdoors. People suffering from diabetes are prone to dehydration, which can become dangerous if left unchecked as it can lead to diabetic ketoacidosis. At the same time, dehydration can cause confusion which may make a person unaware of low blood sugar. Therefore it’s essential for diabetes patients to remain well- hydrated in winters and test their blood sugar more frequently.
HOW DIABETES AFFECTS THE KIDNEYS
We all know that our kidneys help in filtering out the waste from our body and because of the kidneys our body remains clean and toxins-free. When a person has diabetes, it affects smaller blood vessels and capillaries in our body and causes progressive damage. These small blood vessels are responsible for bringing blood into the kidneys, where it can be filtered for waste products. However, when these blood vessels are damaged adequate blood does not flow into the kidneys, in an already compromised filtration apparatus making it much harder for the urinary excretory system to do its job. Due to this, your body may retain toxins, salt, and large amounts of water besides fall in haemoglobin and effect on bone health. Conversely, you may also lose essential proteins in your urine.
WAYS TO TAKE CARE OF THE KIDNEYS
1. Control your cholesterol level:High cholesterol level is more likely to cause kidney damage. It becomes essential to keep a check on cholesterol for cardiovascular and renal health. If cholesterol increases, it can potentially lead to kidney damage.
2. Good diet:Avoid eating junk foods. The trans fat which we get from it can be harmful to our kidneys. Your diet shouldn’t have too much sugar as it produces an excess of toxins in your body. Consume a diet based on fruits, vegetables, cereals, grains and a high amount of fibre.
3. Stay well-hydrated:Adequate hydration helps our kidneys dissolve and eliminate toxins and waste products from our body. Our kidneys and other organs might “dry” out if we don’t drink enough water. This means that they’ll re-absorb or will be able to filter fewer toxins which will then accumulate in the body.
The writer is director of renal sciences at Regency Superspeciality Hospital, Lucknow.