Diabetes can damage kidneys. The kidneys function as your body’s personal sewer plant. They essentially filter bodily wastes and then excrete the excess fluids. While diabetes is not the only health condition that can cause kidney damage, it is the first named cause by the Mayo Clinic.
The symptoms of kidney damage, according to the Mayo Clinic, are:
• Loss of appetite
• Fatigue and weakness
• Sleep problems
• Changes in urine output
• Decreased mental sharpness
• Muscle twitches and cramps
• Swelling of the feet and ankles
• Persistent itching
• Chest pain, if fluid accumulates around the lining of the heart
• Shortness of breath, if fluid accumulates in the lungs
• High blood pressure (hypertension) that's difficult to control
Today – 14 March – is World Kidney Day. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) is raising awareness of the long term effects of acute kidney injury (AKI) — a sudden loss of kidney function. Research funded by the NIH’s National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) suggests survivors of AKI have a lifelong increased risk for developing permanent kidney damage. Kidney damage can result in decreased kidney function or even kidney failure.
Rates of AKI are highest among hospitalized patients and people with existing kidney problems. However, the NIH points out that AKI can also occur in people with normally functioning kidneys. This is usually as a result of illness, injury, or certain medicines. Like many chronic health conditions, rates of severe AKI are growing. Over the past decade, the U.S. rate of AKI requiring dialysis has increased by 10 percent each year and the associated deaths have more than doubled, according to an NIDDK-supported study.
"We now know acute kidney injury is not the isolated or temporary condition we once believed it to be. However, in many cases, it is preventable and treatable," said Griffin P. Rodgers, M.D., NIDDK director. "We must continue to support research to help us better understand the connection between acute kidney injury and chronic kidney disease, to prevent acute kidney injury in those at risk, and to identify and treat the condition when it does occur."
According to the NIH, the NIDDK supports several research and education initiatives to improve the prevention and treatment of AKI and to better understand the effects of the disease:
• The NIDDK-funded Assessment, Serial Evaluation, and Subsequent Sequelae in Acute Kidney Injury Network is a study focused on improving the understanding of long-term outcomes following episodes of AKI, including potential increased risks such as heart attack or death.
• The NIDDK-funded Safe Kidney Care Cohort Study aims to help prevent acute medical injuries — such as AKI in patients with chronic kidney disease by gaining an understanding of the frequency of chronic kidney disease patient exposure to injury-inducing medicines, tests, or procedures. In addition, the study will assess the efficacy of medical alert jewelry as a method to reduce the risk of such medical injuries.
• The Pharmacy Working Group of NIH’s National Kidney Disease Education Program (NKDEP) is working to reduce AKI caused by medicines — including non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, or NSAIDs — through a pharmacist-targeted education initiative focused on NSAID avoidance in chronic kidney disease patients.
NIH is the primary federal agency conducting and supporting basic, clinical, and translational medical research, and is investigating the causes, treatments, and cures for both common and rare diseases. For more information about NIH and its programs, visit http://www.nih.gov. NIDDK’s research interests include diabetes and other endocrine and metabolic diseases; digestive diseases, nutrition, and obesity; and kidney, urologic and hematologic diseases. For more information on chronic kidney disease and medicines, visit the NKDEP Medicines and Kidney Disease website, http://www.nkdep.nih.gov/living/medicines.shtml.
This article was taken in part from a press release by the NIH. It is not intended to replace the medical advice of your physician. If you are experiencing any of the symptoms of kidney damage or diabetes, make an appointment with your physician.
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