There seems to be a never ending list of complications that people with diabetes may face. It can seem daunting and scary, but most often there are ways that we can protect ourselves from these complications. A ​health blog written by Emily Loghmani, MS, RD, LDN, CDE at Johns Hopkins, outlines ways that we can protect our kidneys from problems.

First and foremost, it’s important to understand what the kidneys do for us: they filter waste products from our blood and produce urine to remove that waste. High blood sugar and high blood pressure can both overwork the filtering system, causing damage that is not reversible. A lower ability to filter our blood can cause buildup of sodium, potassium and phosphorus or cause proteins to leak out into our urine when it’s supposed to remain in our bloodstream.

So what can we do? As with most complications, the best thing we can do is to try to control our diabetes and make sure our blood pressure doesn’t rise too high. Medications can definitely help with this but what we eat can also have an effect.

  • Make sure to limit salt and sodium. Avoid highly salted foods and pay attention to food labels, choosing lower sodium options. Eat more fresh foods that are naturally low in sodium.

  • Limit high fat foods.

  • Avoid excessive amounts of protein. 4 oz. or less per meal is ample for most people.

Work with your health care provider to ensure that you are doing everything you can to protect your kidneys. There are tests that can be done that will help to catch kidney issues early. An ​article at the National Institute of Health outlines what those tests are. Early detection can make a big difference in helping to maintain kidney health.

To learn more on this topic:
Kidney-Friendly Foods
Controlling Complications: Diabetic Kidney Disease
The Correlation Between Diabetes and Kidney Disease