What Can You Do to Prevent Kidney Disease?


By: Betty Wedman

1) Control Your Blood Pressure

Hypertension (high blood pressure) is a major factor in the onset of kidney dysfunction. A blood pressure exceeding 140/90 millimeters of mercury usually leads to an ACE (angiotension-converting enzyme) inhibitor medication being prescribed.

2) Reduce the Protein in Your Diet

As soon as microalbuminuria and/or elevated creatinine values are detected, start spacing the amount of protein in your diet into three or four meals. A scrambled egg at breakfast, a small 2-ounce ground beef patty for lunch, and 2 ounces (2 legs) of chicken at dinner would be a good start.

3) Check Your A1C Every Three Months

Balancing diet, medication and exercise to maintain normal blood-glucose levels as often as possible may help reduce your risk of kidney dysfunction. An elevated A1C means that an abnormal amount of glycoproteins is causing the thickening of the glomeruli membranes. This thickening reduces blood flow and produces the loss of filtering ability.

4) Evaluate Each New Medicine Very Carefully

Every day seems to bring another story from a patient who says, “Starting on a new medication caused me to be on dialysis.” Not everyone detoxifies a drug in the same way.

Anti-inflammatory drugs seem to be major culprits for kidney disregulation, followed closely by antibiotics. Get a blood and/or urine assessment after adding any new drugs to your regimen. It may help save your kidney cells from destruction.

5) Have Your Urine Tested Annually for Microalbuminuria

The urinary albumin-to-creatinine ratio is best measured in an early morning urine sample.

I predict that, in the near future, individuals with diabetes will be testing their own microalbuminuria to assess their tolerance level for dietary protein. That will allow a real individualization of the meal plan!

Microalbuminuria rarely occurs before puberty, so for those with type 1 diabetes, testing should start then and be repeated five years later. Because of the difficulty in assessing the precise onset of type 2 diabetes, testing for individuals with type 2 needs to be done at the time of diagnosis and repeated annually.



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