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Understanding the Connection Between Diabetes and Kidney Disease

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Diabetes, if left uncontrolled, can have far-reaching consequences on various organs and tissues in the body. The kidneys are particularly susceptible to damage caused by high blood sugar levels. A process called Glycation occurs when excess sugars bind to proteins and cells in the kidneys, leading to impaired function and tissue damage. Additionally, high blood sugar levels can damage the blood vessels in the kidneys, affecting the filtration process and contributing to organ damage and hypertension.

Symptoms of Kidney Failure Due to Diabetes:

When diabetes progresses and affects the kidneys, several symptoms may arise. It is crucial to be aware of these signs to seek early medical intervention. Common symptoms include frequent urination, especially at night (nocturia), decreased urine output, fatigue, weakness, loss of appetite, unexplained weight loss, swelling in the legs and ankles (edema), persistent itching, muscle cramps, and difficulty concentrating. These symptoms indicate that the kidneys are not effectively filtering waste and excess fluids from the body, resulting in a buildup of toxins and imbalances in the blood.

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High Glucose and Creatinine Levels:

Elevated glucose levels in individuals with diabetes can lead to increased production of creatinine, a waste product produced by muscle metabolism. Creatinine is normally filtered out of the blood by healthy kidneys. However, when kidney function is compromised due to diabetes, the creatinine levels can rise. Measuring creatinine levels through a blood test is a common diagnostic tool to assess kidney function. Therefore, individuals with diabetes should regularly monitor their blood glucose levels and undergo periodic kidney function tests to detect any early signs of kidney impairment.

Diabetes and Kidney Disease:

Diabetes is one of the leading causes of kidney disease, known as diabetic nephropathy. Persistent high blood sugar levels can damage the small blood vessels and capillaries in the kidneys, impairing their ability to filter waste effectively. Over time, this condition can progress to chronic kidney disease (CKD) and, ultimately, kidney failure. Hence managing diabetes through a protocol that leads to a holistic lifestyle change and adherence is most crucial early on to reduce the risk of kidney complications. Moreover, it is essential for individuals to consult their healthcare providers particularly a functional medicine doctor, so as to monitor the health of their kidneys and identify any potential issues at an early stage.

Dialysis with Diabetes:

For individuals with diabetes and kidney failure, dialysis may become necessary. Dialysis is a medical procedure that mimics the kidney’s function by filtering waste and excess fluids from the blood. However, managing diabetes while undergoing dialysis can present additional challenges. Blood sugar levels need to be closely monitored and controlled, as fluctuations can impact the effectiveness of the treatment. Diet adjustments may be necessary to accommodate the nutritional requirements of both diabetes and dialysis. Coordination with your functional medicine practitioner and other healthcare providers, is vital to ensure proper management of both conditions.

Insulin Side Effects on Kidneys:

Insulin is a currently being used by conventional medicine to manage diabetes, particularly for individuals with type 1 diabetes and some with type 2 diabetes. Concerns have been raised regarding the potential side effects of insulin on kidney function. However, it is important to note that insulin itself does not directly cause kidney damage. Instead, uncontrolled blood sugar levels and poorly managed diabetes contribute to kidney complications. By effectively managing blood sugar levels through a holistic program that looks to reverse diabetes is the best bet to reduce the risk of kidney damage.


Diabetes-related kidney failure is a serious and potentially life-threatening condition. Early detection and intervention are crucial to preserve kidney function and prevent further damage. Monitoring blood sugar levels, undergoing regular kidney function tests, and working towards a comprehensive diabetes reversal program is utmost essential for individuals with diabetes. Dialysis may be necessary for those who experience kidney failure, and managing diabetes concurrently with dialysis requires close attention and coordination between healthcare providers. By effectively managing diabetes and working closely with a functional medicine expert, individuals with diabetes can reduce the risk of kidney complications and maintain optimal kidney health.

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