Physician Discusses Effects of Diabetes on Kidney Health


(3/28/2014)  Diabetes and how it affects kidney health was the topic for the Diabetes Support Group last week at McLeod Seacoast. The guest speaker for the meeting held Friday, March 28, was Dr. Christopher Po of McLeod Nephrology Seacoast.

Each year, more than 100,000 people are diagnosed with kidney failure. Diabetes is the most common cause of kidney failure. High blood sugar can overwork the kidneys, which over time can damage them. Out of the 500,000 people currently on dialysis in North America, 250,000 of them are diabetic.

Dr. Po discussed factors that can influence kidney disease development. These include genetics, blood sugar control and blood pressure.  The better a person keeps diabetes and blood pressure under control, the lower the chance of getting kidney disease.  Although symptoms of chronic kidney disease can vary greatly, they may include:

·        Need to urinate frequently, especially at night

·        Swelling

·        High blood pressure

·        Fatigue and weakness

·        Loss of appetite

·        Nausea, with or without vomiting

·        Shortness of breath

·        Headaches

·        Sleep problems

·        Chest pain

·        Bone weakness

·        Shaking

·        Anemia

He explained that people with kidney failure undergo dialysis, an artificial blood-cleaning process, or undergo transplant surgery to receive a healthy kidney from a donor.

While not everyone with diabetes develops kidney disease, Dr. Po added that many of the risk factors for kidney disease are treatable. If you have diabetes, take these steps:

·        Stop smoking

·        Keep your blood sugar levels in the normal range

·        Control your blood pressure

·        Manage your weight through diet and exercise

·        Have yearly kidney function blood tests

For more information about McLeod Nephrology Seacoast or outreach events at McLeod Loris Seacoast, please call (843) 390-8326.