What Should I Do to Prevent My Diabetic Kidney Disease from Getting Worse?

By Caitlin Carter, MD

Steps to help keep diabetic kidney disease from getting worse.

By Caitlin Carter, MD

Kidney disease from diabetes is the most common cause of kidney failure in the United States. That said, diabetes usually takes many years to cause kidney damage. If you have decreased kidney function or protein in your urine (microalbuminuria) from diabetes, there are a few important steps you can take to prevent worsening of your kidney function.

Even small improvements can lower your risk of progressive kidney disease. These steps include:

Achieve good blood pressure control

The target may vary from person to person, but generally is less than 140/90. Taking an ace inhibitor of angiotensin receptor blocking medication can help lower blood pressure and has specific effects on the kidney that protect the kidney from damage caused by diabetes.

Stop smoking if you smoke

It increases risk for renal function deterioration, including diabetic nephropathy.

Maintain a healthy body weight

Getting to and maintaining normal body weight (body mass index under 25) can help with lowering blood pressure and reducing your need for diabetic medications. It also helps with preventing kidney disease.

Control your diabetes

Maintain a goal hemoglobin A1C of less than 7 percent with diet and medications.

Control you cholesterol

Use diet and medications if necessary.

Limit your dietary sodium intake

Keep daily sodium intake under 2000 mg per day. This helps to lower your blood pressure and helps your medication to work more effectively.

Follow up with your nephrologist (kidney specialist)

Routine visits to your nephrologist can help you make sure you are doing everything you can to prevent kidney disease from worsening.

This Scripps Health and Wellness tip was provided by Caitlin Carter, MD, a nephrologist at Scripps Clinic in San Diego.