It’s something so many of us do every day, and we have to stop. I’m guilty of it, too. I spend way too much of my precious time worrying about my “outside”, like that horrific zit on my chin or the flabby bit around my middle or whether to wear a pantsuit to a party. I seem to believe that these little things will change the course of my life, while I walk around as if what’s going on the inside of my body really has nothing to do with me.
I think I know why I stay so ignorant when it comes to my health. It’s pretty simple, actually. If I don’t know about it, I don’t have to think about it. And if I don’t think about it, I don’t get anxious—unless and until something goes wrong. In fact, it’s only when I (or someone I care about) have a health scare that I get the kick in the pants I need to get educated about how my body functions, so I can figure out how stay in shape from the inside out. It’s not too late to start taking control of your health.
Do you know what your kidneys do every day? Do you know anyone living with type 2 diabetes and the potential risk their kidneys face? Read on. This is life-changing stuff you want to understand.
What Your Kidneys Do For You
Your kidneys are way too important to ignore. They are the master chemists in your body, in case you didn’t know. While you go about your day, they are busy performing so many vital tasks, including:
- Removing waste and excess fluids from your body
- Regulating the balance of fluids, salt, potassium and other minerals necessary for good health
- Releasing hormones, which regulate blood pressure and red blood cell production
What Your Chances Are of Getting Kidney Disease
There are many risk factors for chronic kidney disease, aka CKD. Some of them you’ve got control over, such as smoking and lifestyle choices, while others are pre-determined. For instance, people with diabetes, high blood pressure or who have a family history of kidney disease are at increased risk of developing CKD. Also, people of Aboriginal, Asian, South Asian, Pacific Island, African/Caribbean and Hispanic descent are at greater risk as well.
What People with Diabetes Need to Know
Believe it or not, a whopping 3.5 million Canadians are currently living with diabetes—and as many as 50% of them may also show signs of chronic kidney damage. But they may not even realize they’ve got it. Here’s why. Because kidney disease in people with type 2 diabetes can start slowly and progress over a number of years, it’s easy to miss the diagnosis and end up with serious kidney damage. The scary fact is, noticeable symptoms don’t typically appear until about 75% or more of kidney function is lost. Even more disturbing, if someone with type 2 diabetes has CKD, their diabetes medication may not work as well as it should.
The good news is that if you have type 2 diabetes there are steps you can take to help prevent kidney damage, including taking a personalized risk assessment quiz at kidney.ca/risk. Timing is key because you’ll need to make changes as soon as your doctor notices any of the early signs or risk factors.
What You Should Do if You Have Type 2 Diabetes
- Talk to Your Doctor
It sounds obvious, but if you have type 2 diabetes, ask your doctor about kidney health and screening for kidney disease. Unfortunately, most people with diabetes stay quiet about it—and that’s risky.
- Get Tested Regularly
If you have diabetes, make sure to get tested at least once a year to see if the condition has damaged your kidneys. Your doctor can arrange urine and blood tests to check your blood pressure and kidney health. All you have to do is ask.
- Get Treated Properly
There are specific treatments to manage type 2 diabetes that can also work for people who have kidney impairment, from mild to advanced. Ask your doctor about treatments for type 2 diabetes that control blood sugar and can be taken at all stages of kidney function.
- Take a Holistic Approach
Besides maintaining good control of your blood sugar, take care of your body. How?
- Avoid smoking
- Exercise regularly
- Make healthy food choices
- Avoid excess alcohol
- Get enough sleep
- Take the Risk Assessment Quiz
You probably didn’t know that this amazing tool is available but it is, and you should use it. To check if your kidneys are at risk, log on to kidney.ca/risk and take the risk assessment quiz. You want to know what’s happening inside your body now, before it’s too late to get treated effectively.
This article has been sponsored by the Boehringer Ingelheim-Lilly Canada Diabetes Alliance, but the opinions shared are our own.