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What are Kidneys and How Do they Work?

Kidneys are one of the most important organs in the body. Think of kidneys as nature’s way of filtering toxins out of your body. You have a pair of kidneys that receive a lot of blood, the blood is transferred through a network of blood vessels. In addition, kidneys have membrane-like structures that help filter out toxins.

How Diabetes Leads to Renal Failure

Diabetes and high blood pressure are the two of the most common causes of kidney failure. At least 44% of new cases with kidney disease have diabetes. Diabetes leads to renal failure in two ways:

  1. First, high amounts of sugar in the blood can turn into a toxin. This toxin starts to destroy the tiny blood vessels in the kidneys. When that happens, the kidneys fail to do their normal function and waste start to build-up in the body.
  2. Second, diabetes alters the structure of membrane-like filters in the kidneys. With the loss of these membrane-like structures, the kidneys practically become useless. Unfortunately, a lot of people with diabetes have high blood pressure which worsens kidney damage.

The bad thing about kidney failure in diabetes is that it happens slowly. It takes an average of 10 ten years before the symptoms of kidney disease become obvious. Therefore, it’s important to look out for kidney disease symptoms. The following are some of the many symptoms that can indicate damaged kidneys:

  • Increase in blood pressure
  • Going to bathroom more often (especially at night)
  • Swelling in the ankles
  • Pain in the ankles
  • Lethargy
  • Nausea and vomiting

In closing, it’s very important that you consult your doctor and get to know the status of your kidneys. Regular check-ups are the only way you can avoid serious damage to your kidneys.