When nephropathy is diagnosed in the early stages, several treatments can prevent it from getting worse.
When nephropathy is detected in the advanced stages, it usually results in kidney failure or end-stage renal failure.1
Over time, the stress of over-functioning causes the kidneys to lose their filtering ability. Then waste products begin to build up in the blood. Eventually, kidney failure occurs, which is very serious.
A person with this condition needs a kidney transplant or has his blood filtered by a machine (dialysis).
Symptoms diabetic nephropathy
The kidneys work hard to compensate for hair problems, so nephropathy does not produce any symptoms until almost all function disappears. Also, the symptoms of nephropathy are not specific.
The first symptom of nephropathy is often the accumulation of fluid. Other symptoms of nephropathy include loss of sleep, lack of appetite, stomach upset, weakness, and difficulty concentrating.
How can diabetic nephropathy be prevented?
“You can prevent diabetic nephropathy by keeping your blood glucose in the target range.
Research has proven that strict glucose control reduces the risk of microalbuminuria by one-third, and so-called dipeptidyl peptidase 4 (DPP-4) inhibitors help improve glycosylated hemoglobin without causing hypoglycemia, as well as not causing weight gain.
Tight control of blood glucose and blood pressure are important treatments for nephropathy. Blood pressure has a significant effect on the rate of disease progression. Even a slight increase in blood pressure can make nephropathy quickly worse.
Four ways to lower blood pressure are to lose weight, eat less salt, avoid alcohol and tobacco, and exercise regularly.
Food for the kidneys, preventing diabetic nephropathy
Do not use herbal supplements
Herbal supplements are not safe if you have kidney disease. Some can damage the kidneys and even make the disease worse.
Some vitamins can also cause kidney problems and should be avoided. Always talk to your doctor before taking any supplements or vitamins.
With diet for chronic kidney disease, you will avoid or limit certain foods to protect your kidneys and include others that give energy and keep you nourished.
The specific diet for you will depend on whether your disease is early or late stage or if you are on dialysis.
The foods you should limit for diabetic nephropathy
Reduce salt/sodium consumption. This is a good measure for diabetes and is very important for chronic kidney disease.
Over time, the kidneys lose the ability to control the balance of sodium and water. Consuming less sodium in the diet will help reduce blood pressure and fluid buildup in the body, which is common in people with kidney disease.
Focus on eating fresh, homemade foods and eat only small amounts of restaurant or canned foods, which usually contain a lot of sodium. Look for nutrition labels that say low sodium (5% or less).
In a week or two you will get used to food with less salt, especially if you enhance the flavor with flavored herbs, spices, mustard, and vinegars.
Do not use salt substitutes unless your doctor or dietitian says it is okay. Many have very high levels of potassium, which you may need to limit.
Depending on the stage of your illness, you may also need to reduce the levels of potassium, phosphorus and protein in your diet.
Many of the foods that are part of a typical healthy diet may not be adequate in the diet for chronic kidney disease.
Phosphorus is a mineral that keeps bones strong and other parts of the body healthy. The kidneys cannot remove excess phosphorus from the blood very well.
Excess phosphorus weakens bones and can damage blood vessels, eyes, and the heart.
Meats, dairy products, beans, nuts, whole grain bread, and dark sodas are high in phosphorus. Phosphorus is also added to many packaged foods.
Adequate levels of potassium keep nerves and muscles functioning properly. In people with chronic kidney disease, excess potassium can build up in the blood and cause serious heart problems.
Oranges, potatoes, tomatoes, whole grain bread and many other foods contain high levels of potassium. Apples, carrots and white bread have lower levels.
Your doctor may prescribe a potassium binder, which is a medicine that helps your body remove excess potassium.
Eat an adequate amount of protein. Eating more protein than needed makes your kidneys work harder and can make chronic kidney disease worse.
However, eating too little is not healthy either. Both animal and plant foods contain protein.
Your dietitian can help you determine the right combination and amounts of protein to eat.
Foods for Diabetes and Chronic Kidney Disease
Your dietitian can give you many ideas for preparing tasty meals.
Here are just a few examples of foods that are good for both diabetes and chronic kidney disease. Your dietitian can give you many more suggestions and help you find recipes for tasty foods.
Fruits: berries, grapes, cherries, apples, plums
Vegetables: cauliflower, onion, eggplant, turnip
Proteins: lean meats (poultry, fish), eggs, unsalted seafood
Carbohydrates: white bread, bagels, sandwich rolls, unsalted crackers, pasta
Drinks: water, clear diet sodas, unsweetened tea
This is an example of how food for diabetes and food for chronic kidney disease can work well together:
If you drink orange juice to treat low blood sugar, change it to apple or grape juice, which do not harm the kidneys. You will get the same effect on your blood sugar, but with much less potassium.
Chronic Late Stage Kidney Disease
Your nutritional needs will change if you have chronic late-stage kidney disease. If you are on dialysis, you may need to eat more, especially more protein. Your appetite may change because food tastes different.
Dialysis filters the blood the same way the kidneys do, but it is not as effective as having healthy kidneys. Fluid can build up in your body between treatments.
You may need to limit the amount of fluid you drink and watch for swelling around your eyes or in your legs, arms or stomach.
Blood sugar levels may actually improve with chronic late-stage kidney disease.
This may be due to changes in the way your body uses insulin. However, when you are on dialysis, your blood sugar levels can rise because the fluid you use to filter your blood is high in glucose (sugar).
It will be hard to predict how much insulin and other diabetes medicine you will need, so your doctor will monitor you closely.