Can diabetes and high blood pressure lead to kidney failure?

If left unchecked, the disease can progress further and may eventually lead to Kidney Failure.

Dr. Saurabh PokhariyalUpdated: Saturday, July 23, 2022, 02:56 PM IST
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Healthy kidneys in a human body are responsible for the filtering of excess fluid and waste from blood. However, diabetes and high blood pressure can have a significant impact on the functioning of the kidneys, and cause loss of function over time, a medical condition referred to as Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD).

If left unchecked, the disease can progress further and may eventually lead to kidney failure. This makes it difficult for the kidneys to process waste, resulting in the need for extrinsic support to facilitate such cleansing of the blood via a recurring therapy termed as dialysis.

Complex interplay of diabetes, high blood pressure & kidney disease

The interplay of diabetes,high blood pressure and kidney diseases is at times hard for people to understand and is more of a vicious cycle. diabetes and high blood pressure are both to a large extent lifestyle diseases and directly cause kidney disease and cause progressive worsening of kidney disease over time.

Fortunately, the above doesn’t happen overnight but since it is a slow-paced deterioration it can go undetected for a long time as the disease manifests itself at quite an advanced stage for most individuals making it difficult to treat the disease.

The symptoms of CKD include loss of weight, poor appetite, fatigue, swollen ankles, hands and feet, blood in urine, insomnia, itchy skin, muscle cramps, and headache.

Grim situation in India

Accounting for 17 per cent of the total global diabetic burden, India is referred to as the ‘diabetic capital of the world’. The country has around 80 million diabetic people and the number is likely to increase to 135 million in the next 25 years.

High blood Pressure is also not far behind, which has been ranked the third-highest health risk factor in Asia. In India, about 33 per cent of its urban population and 25 per cent of those in rural areas are reported to be suffering from high blood pressure.

Moreover, the burden of such non-communicable diseases has been rising in India as is evident from a growing incidence of high blood Pressure and diabetes which further lead to kidney diseases. According to a report, more than three per cent of the total deaths in India between the age group of 15-69 occur every year due to renal failure or kidney diseases. In addition, around 1.5 lakh new cases of kidney failure are reported in India each year and a lot of them succumb to the disease either due to the lack of awareness or due to the shortage of dialysis units. This rate is only going to further increase with the increasing number of patients suffering from diabetes and high Blood Pressure.

Slowing down progression

If detected timely, the progression of kidney disease can however be slowed down and symptoms can be managed through medications and by regular consultations with a nephrologist.

Most important is to make lifestyle changes like maintaining an optimum weight, exercising, meditating, consuming less salt and alcohol, and quitting smoking.

For the diabetic, monitoring blood glucose level regularly and controlling it with medicines as well as following a diet chart recommended by a nutritionist is essential.

Dr. Saurabh Pokhariyal is the Co-Founder of VitusCare Dialysis Centres

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