Know the link between diabetes and kidney disease

To recognize World Diabetes Day, Northwest Kidney Centers sponsored Seattle’s Great Wheel to be lit up in blue as part of its efforts to raise diabetes awareness.

This month is National Diabetes Month, and Northwest Kidney Centers wants you to know about the connection between diabetes and kidney disease:

Diabetes is the leading cause of kidney disease. Among our patients, approximately 40% experience kidney disease as a result of diabetes.

According to the Washington State Department of Health, as many as 2 million (1 in 3) Washington residents have pre-diabetes. This group may not experience any symptoms until permanent damage has been done to their bodies, including to their kidneys. Meanwhile more than 600,000 Washingtonians already have diabetes.

Take this short quiz to find out if you’re at risk for diabetes. The quiz is also available in Spanish.

While diabetes is a serious condition with harmful consequences, a healthy diet and regular exercise can help you keep it under control, and perhaps even reverse it.

Whatever your health condition, diet and physical activity are key.

  1. Eat a balanced diet. Explore hundreds of healthy recipes on our website and reduce the number of packaged or prepared foods you eat. These steps will help you avoid too much salt, which can cause kidney issues.
  2. Get regular exercise. Make a goal to get 30 minutes of exercise five days a week. Any amount helps. Being physically active can prevent or delay type 2 diabetes, lower blood pressure, reduce your weight and condition your heart.
  3. Moderate use of pain medicines. Avoid regular, long-term use of over-the-counter drugs for pain and inflammation such as ibuprofen, Advil, Aleve and Motrin.
  4. Ask your doctor to test your kidneys if you fall into any higher-risk categories, such as hypertension/high blood pressure, family history of kidney disease, overweight, 60 or older, or African American, American Indian, Asian American, Pacific Islander or Hispanic heritage.

In addition to the diabetes resources on our website, Washington State’s collection of classes and resources for people living with diabetes is available at Diabetes Connection.

The holidays can be especially challenging. Try these tips to maintain a healthy diet.

The healthy choices you make to prevent or manage diabetes will also benefit your kidneys.