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Being Kind to Your Kidneys: Preventing Problems
June 17, 2013
Now that you know a little more (or have refreshed your memory a bit) about diabetes and kidney disease, as well as the tests you need to see how healthy your kidneys are, you’re ready for the most important part: what you can do to prevent kidney problems from happening in the first place.
Focus on blood glucose control.
If your numbers aren’t within these ranges, you’ll likely need a tweak to your diabetes treatment plan. This may involve increasing and/or adding medicine, focusing on your food and activity plan, checking your blood glucose more often, or all of the above.
Keep your blood pressure under control.
If your health-care provider has prescribed blood pressure medicine for you, be sure to take it. That may sound silly, but a surprising number of people don’t take their blood pressure medicine. If you have trouble taking yours or if you can’t afford it, let your provider know, because other options may be available.
Watch out for signs of kidney problems.
Change your food choices.
• Lower your sodium intake. Go easy on canned and processed foods and put away the saltshaker.
• Skip the processed foods. Salty snack foods, fast foods, instant rice and potato mixes, and deli meats are not only high in sodium, but they’re high in other ingredients that may be damaging to your kidneys.
• Watch the red meat. Animal protein that is also high in saturated fat can be harmful to your kidneys if you eat too much. Watch portions and limit how often you eat steak, burgers, and other red meats.
• Slash the sugar. You might be doing this already for your diabetes. Sugary drinks and other sweet treats can make it hard to control your blood glucose and your weight. High blood glucose levels and being overweight or obese are risk factors for kidney disease.
Focus on a heart-healthy lifestyle.
All of these steps may seem like a lot of work, but chances are, you’re doing a lot of them already. Put your energy into areas where you need the most help, whether it’s getting your A1C or blood pressure down, losing some weight, or making better food choices. Ask your provider, dietitian, or diabetes educator for help in keeping your kidneys as healthy as they can be.
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