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Obesity and Diabetic Kidney Disease

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Obesity is a risk factor for the development and poor control of Type 2 diabetes. Kidney disease is one complication of both Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes. Scientists at Royal Victoria Hospital in Belfast, United Kingdom, set out to discover whether obesity could contribute to the development of diabetic kidney disease.

Their study, reported on in the Quarterly Journal of Medicine in May 2013, included 733,769 Type 2 diabetes patients. People with diabetic kidney disease were found to be more likely to be obese than those with healthy kidneys.

Diabetes is the most common cause of kidney failure in the United States. Over 35 percent of adults with diabetes also have kidney disease. In 2008, 44 percent of new cases of kidney failure were related to diabetes.


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Kidneys perform vital functions in the human body. They remove:

  • excess water and wastes,
  • stimulate the bone marrow to make red blood cells, and
  • help keep the blood pressure normal.

Loss of kidney function can cause high blood pressure, anemia, fluid buildup, loss of blood protein, and buildup of toxic waste. These people then experience:

  • tiredness,
  • loss of appetite,
  • nausea and vomiting,
  • itchy rashes,
  • metallic flavor in the mouth,
  • heartburn, and
  • swelling around the eyes, ankles, and wrists.

Diagnosis is made by testing the urine for a protein called albumin and testing the blood and urine to determine how well the kidneys are filtering the blood. If chronic kidney disease progresses too far, dialysis or a kidney transplant can be necessary to preserve life. In 2008, a total of 202,290 people in the United States were receiving chronic dialysis or had undergone a kidney transplant. Normalizing your weight, or keeping a healthy weight, is important to prevent diabetic kidney disease, so...

  • eat healthful, nutrient dense, low-calorie meals and exercise as much as you are able to tolerate.
  • keeping your blood sugar under control is also important, so monitor your blood regularly and take your medications as prescribed.
  • control blood pressure with medications if necessary. High blood pressure is the second leading cause of kidney failure. Twenty percent of adults with high blood pressure have kidney disease.
  • keep your cholesterol within its target range with a low-fat diet and medications if necessary. Use herbs and spices for flavor instead of salt.

Anyone with diabetes should have at least yearly checkups, which should include a test for protein in the urine. If protein is found, then further testing can differentiate diabetic kidney disease from a urinary tract infection. If the former is diagnosed, then medications called ACE inhibitors can be used to prevent further damage. Of course, preventing any damage is best, so adopt or keep a healthy lifestyle.

Type 2 diabetes is not a condition you must just live with. By making easy changes to your daily routine, its possible to protect your heart, kidneys, eyes and limbs from the damage often caused by diabetes, and eliminate some of the complications you may already experience.


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For nearly 25 years Beverleigh Piepers has searched for and found a number of secrets to help you build a healthy body. Go to to learn about some of those secrets.

The answer isn't in the endless volumes of available information but in yourself.

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