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The link between diabetes and kidney disease

(NC) As many as 50 per cent of people with diabetes may show signs of kidney damage. But did you know that keeping your kidneys healthy while managing your diabetes can actually prevent or delay the loss of kidney function? Dr. Andrew W. Steele, FRCPC, Medical Director and Chief of Nephrology, Lakeridge Health Corporation and Lead Nephrologist Ontario Renal Network, Central East Local Health Integration Network works with many patients who are affected by diabetes, and has a number of valuable tips to help patients and their caregivers be mindful of kidney health related to diabetes:


  1. Make certain you have the best medication for you and that it is managed correctly for your situation. Some medications for diabetes that control blood sugar levels can be started and taken at all stages of kidney function.
  1. Ask your doctor to screen your kidneys every year following your initial diabetes diagnosis, and when starting a new medication. Testing your kidneys early means you can take action more quickly.
  1. Work hard to keep your blood sugar at the target. High blood sugar levels damage tiny blood vessels in the kidneys, impairing their ability to filter the blood properly. Talk to your doctor about what your target range should be.
  1. Keep your blood pressure at the target. High blood pressure can stress your kidneys too. Talk to your doctor about your personal target.

Remember – most people don’t experience any symptoms in the early stages of kidney disease, so it is important to be screened regularly to detect kidney problems as early as possible. The Kidney Foundation of Canada recommends screening which includes blood pressure, blood creatinine and urinalysis to look for protein. It is also important for people with diabetes and declining kidney function to take medications to help control blood sugar that are appropriate for their kidney health.

For more information about how you can protect your kidney health while living with diabetes, visit www.kidney.ca.