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What Do My Kidneys Do?

RM Kidney

Your kidneys are about the size of your fist, a small fist. They are organs that are in the shape of a bean. They are on each side of your body and found just below your rib cage. Your kidneys have a very big job of filtering your blood and removing any toxins. They filter about 120 to 150 quarts of blood daily and produce about 1-2 quarts of urine. Your urine will flow from your kidneys to the bladder through little tubes called ureters. Your bladder will store urine until you need to release it through urination.

Can Diabetes Affect My Kidneys?

Your kidneys can be damaged due to an excess of glucose that can be caused by diabetes. Too much sugar damages the kidney filters and with damaged filters the proteins you need to stay healthy start to leak out of your blood and into your urine. Kidneys help to filter waste and if they are damaged waste can slip through and make you sick. Diabetes is actually the leading cause of kidney disease. It can also affect both kidneys at the same time.

Does High Blood Pressure Affect My Kidneys?

One of the other leading causes of kidney disease is high blood pressure. Kidneys can be damaged from high blood pressure and whether you are aware of it or not you could already have damaged kidneys if you have high blood pressure.

Healthy Blood Pressure

In order to have a healthy blood pressure it would have to fall below 140/80 or 140/90 depending on whether or not you already have kidney disease. This of course should be something you discuss with your doctor. If you keep your blood pressure at healthy levels you can prevent damage not only to your kidneys but your brain, heart and blood vessels as well.

Symptoms of Diabetic Kidney Disease

If you have diabetic kidney disease it may be really hard to tell early on as there aren’t that many symptoms. Sadly, kidney disease happens as a very slow progression and you may not even feel sick for a few years. Oddly enough you may not even realize you are sick when your kidneys are sick and doing half the job as healthy kidneys would. Checkups with your doctor are important as they are the only ones that can determine whether or not you have kidney disease.

One thing to look out for is swelling in parts of your body as this is one of the first signs of diabetic kidney disease. The swelling can occur in the hands, feet, face or ankles.  If you have large amounts of protein in your urine it can cause your urine to look foamy. Once your kidney disease progresses you can expect to see the following symptoms:

  • increased or decreased urination
  • feeling drowsy or tired
  • feeling itchy or numb
  • dry skin
  • headaches
  • weight loss
  • not feeling hungry
  • feeling sick to your stomach
  • vomiting
  • sleep problems
  • trouble staying focused
  • darkened skin
  • muscle cramps