Diabetes can cause many health problems for older adults. Perhaps one of the most dangerous is kidney disease, or nephropathy. Kidneys that work well are extremely important to good health since they filter toxins from the body. When kidneys are damaged by diabetes, they can break down and lose their ability to effectively remove waste products from the blood.
Diabetes and Kidney Disease
Diabetes is among the top risk factors for kidney disease. In fact, about 25 percent of people who have diabetes also have kidney disease. Kidneys contain a multitude of tiny blood vessels that act like a filter for removing waste products from the blood. The waste is a byproduct of digested proteins. The waste products are smaller than the substances the body needs, like red blood cells and protein, so they slip through holes created by the filter.
Diabetes damages the tiny blood vessels that form the filter because of high blood sugar. When blood sugar is high, the kidneys have to filter more blood than normal, which wears them out. Over time, the filter starts to leak. Protein gets through and is removed from the body in the urine. Eventually, waste products start to build up in the blood. Kidney failure occurs, which must be treated with dialysis or a transplant. Early detection and treatment of kidney disease can help to slow its progression.
Preventing Kidney Disease
Kidney disease can be prevented by managing diabetes and making some lifestyle changes. Some ways to prevent kidney disease are:
Keep Blood Sugar Levels in Target Range: Make certain you know your aging relative’s target goal for blood sugar levels. Follow the doctor’s advice and treatment plan for diabetes management.
Manage High Blood Pressure: High blood pressure is one of the risk factors for kidney disease, so keeping blood pressure levels within the normal range is an important part of keeping kidneys healthy.
Healthy Diet: When the older adult was diagnosed with diabetes, they probably worked with a dietitian to learn how to eat to improve blood sugar levels. If you’re unsure of the kinds of foods to serve your aging relative, talk to their doctor. You may wish to schedule an appointment with the dietitian for assistance.
Exercise: Exercise helps to keep blood sugar levels low by using up glucose for energy and making cells more sensitive to insulin.
Homecare can help diabetic seniors to avoid kidney disease. A homecare provider can prepare healthy meals and snacks that conform to the older adult’s eating plan. Homecare providers can also help with management of high blood pressure by reminding the senior when it is time to take medicine and serving foods that are low in sodium.
If you or a loved one are in need of Homecare Services in Whitehall PA or the surrounding areas, contact the caring professionals at Extended Family Care of Allentown. Call today at (610) 200-6097.
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