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Who Can Develop Kidney Disease

People with high blood pressure or diabetes are more prone to developing a Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD). Diabetes and high blood pressure are the two most common causes of CKD, it’s important to understand the link between diabetes and CKD, as well as the link between high blood pressure and CKD.

Diabetes and CKD

High Blood Pressure and CKD
Q. What is diabetes?
A. Diabetes is a serious disease in which the body produces too little of the hormone insulin, or does not properly use insulin, leaving too much sugar in the blood. Too much sugar damages the inner wall of the renal arteries, especially the capillaries, which are also part of the kidney’s filtering units. There are two types of diabetes. If your pancreas does not produce any insulin at all, you have Type 1 Diabetes. In Type 2 Diabetes, you either don’t produce enough insulin, or you are resistant to the insulin your body is producing. Type 2 is the most common.
Q. What is high blood pressure?
A. Blood travels away from the heart to all parts of the body through blood vessels, called arteries. Blood pressure measures the force of blood against the walls of the arteries as the heart pumps. The blood pressure measurement has two numbers: a top one (systolic) and a bottom one (diastolic). The systolic number is the pressure when the heart contracts and pumps blood out. The diastolic number is the pressure when the heart relaxes before the next beat. When blood pressure is high and left untreated, it can damage the blood vessels that carry blood throughout the body. High blood pressure is also called hypertension.
Q. How does diabetes impact kidney disease?
A. High blood sugar levels damage the filtering units of the kidney. After many years, the tiny blood vessels start to leak protein and the kidneys begin to lose their ability to filter waste products, which then begin to build up in your blood. The primary damage is to glomerular capillaries. The hyperperfusion from hyperglycemia is a more secondary cause.
Q. What is the effect of high blood pressure on kidney disease?
A. High blood pressure makes your heart work harder, and can damage blood vessels throughout the body, making the vessels narrow, stiff, and clogged. When the tiny blood vessels in the kidneys are damaged, their ability to remove wastes, fluids, and electrolytes are decreased. Extra fluid in your body increases the amount of fluid in your blood vessels, making your blood pressure go up. High blood pressure is a vicious cycle because it damages your kidneys and then the damage causes your blood pressure to rise further as kidney disease worsens.
Q. Can controlling diabetes help prevent kidney disease?
A. Yes. Controlling diabetes can delay or prevent kidney disease.
Q. Can controlling high blood pressure delay kidney disease?
A. Yes. To delay kidney disease resulting from high blood pressure:
Q. Can controlling diabetes help prevent kidney disease?
A. Yes. Controlling diabetes can delay or prevent kidney disease. Monitor your blood sugars daily and share your readings with your physician and healthcare team. Type 1: • Take insulin as prescribed. • Follow a diet and exercise plan. Type 2: • Follow a diet plan, exercise, and maintain a healthy weight. • Take medication for cholesterol, blood pressure, blood sugar level, as prescribed.
Q. Can controlling high blood pressure delay kidney disease?
A. Yes. To delay kidney disease resulting from high blood pressure: • Take all medications as prescribed. • Lose weight and exercise regularly. • Reduce salt in your diet. • Monitor your blood pressure daily and share your readings with your physician and healthcare team.
Q. I have diabetes. Does this mean I will eventually develop kidney disease?
A. Although diabetes is the leading cause for chronic kidney disease, being diabetic does not mean you will develop CKD. Early diagnosis of diabetes and beginning the proper treatment program early on will help your kidneys continue to work effectively. If you have had diabetes for a while, following your treatment program is essential. Your doctor will monitor your health and adjust your treatment as needed.

CKD is sometimes caused by:

  • Glomerulonephritis, also known as glomerular nephritis, is a renal disease (usually of both kidneys) characterized by inflammation of the glomeruli, or small blood vessels in the kidneys
  • Autoimmune disorders, such as lupus (SLE), Goodpasture’s syndrome and other vasculitic disorders, rheumatoid arthritis (RA), antiphospholipid syndrome (APS)
  • Malformations of the urinary tract during a baby’s development
  • Kidney blockages, such as pelvic tumors (bladder cancer, cervical cancer)
  • Frequent urinary infections

  • Damaged kidneys may not properly produce important hormones, such as:

  • Renin: controls blood pressure; high blood pressure can cause kidney damage, and kidney damage can cause high blood pressure
  • Erythropoietin: controls red blood cell production; too little causes anemia
  • Calcitriol: controls calcium absorption from food; too little calcium absorbed causes calcium to be pulled from the bones, leading to osteoporosis
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