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Stay healthy with diabetes: why yearly kidney checks are a must

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January 5, 2024

Managing diabetes can be tricky, it's normal to go through ups and downs. Even when you're feeling great, it's smart to keep an eye on your health – and that means getting your annual kidney check-up. It's an important step in understanding and caring for your kidneys, which are essential for your long-term health. Get help with this by connecting with the care team, self enroll, call us at (410) 348-1905 or send us an email.

What are kidneys and why are they important?

Kidneys are a small but mighty organ in your body. They are about the size of a fist and look like a kidney bean! They filter all of the blood in your body to remove waste and balance fluid levels. Extra fluids and waste are turned into urine. Kidneys also help control your blood pressure, keep your bones healthy, and help with red blood cell production.

Diabetes and your kidneys

Kidney damage is common in people with diabetes. Your kidneys are made up of millions of filtering units called nephrons. If your blood sugar is high, the sugar can damage these filtering units and the blood vessels in the kidneys. Once the nephrons and blood vessels are damaged, your kidney can’t work as well, this is called chronic kidney disease. But since your kidneys work really well, even if they're damaged, you won’t feel sick until it’s too late. That’s why it’s important to check your kidneys every year!

How can I check my kidneys?

Your provider will order a yearly test to check on the health of your kidneys. For this test you will need to give a blood sample AND a urine sample at your provider's office or at a lab. The blood test tells your provider how well your kidneys are cleaning your blood. The urine test helps your provider see if your urine contains anything bad.

How do I keep my kidneys healthy?

The most important thing to do to help your kidneys if you are living with type 2 diabetes is to keep your blood sugar under control. If you also have high blood pressure, you also need to keep that controlled. Here are three more things you can do to keep your kidneys healthy!

1. Drink water: Water helps your body in so many ways. Drinking enough water everyday helps your kidneys clean your blood and keeps everything flowing smoothly.

2. Eat healthy: A colorful plate isn't just appealing to your taste buds; it's a feast for your kidneys too! A diet rich in fruits, veggies, lean proteins, and whole grains is a proven way to control weight and blood pressure. This is super important for kidney health, especially for those with diabetes, as it helps in reducing the risk of kidney problems.

3. Exercise regularly: Physical activity helps prevent weight gain and high blood pressure, two things that can take a toll on your kidney health. Do exercises that match your fitness level, and if you have any heart disease risks, ask your provider before starting to exercise.

Need more help?

We’re here to help you build healthy habits like taking your medications on time, making better food choices, and finding ways to exercise so that you can keep your kidneys (and you!) at your best. Have you downloaded the app? Send us a message through the Spotlight app for iOS or Spotlight app for Android. If not, call us at (410) 348-1905 or send us an email.

Extra resources

1. Learn what diabetic kidney disease is

2. Learn how diabetes causes kidney disease

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