Healthy kidneys filter waste from our blood and keep the healthy parts, such as proteins like albumin. Albumin (pronounced al-BY-min) carries medicines and other substances through the blood, and is important for tissue growth and healing. In addition to filtering wastes from blood, the kidneys do several other key jobs to keep our bodies functioning smoothly -
- They produce a hormone that helps the body make red blood cells that prevents anaemia or a low blood count
- They make hormones that help to regulate blood pressure
- They keep bones strong by making a form of vitamin D
Kidney problems (nephropathy, renal disease)
Nephropathy is damage of the kidneys. Kidney damage can cause proteins to leak through the kidneys and leave the body in urine. Albumin is one of the first proteins to leak when kidneys become damaged.
The final stage of nephropathy is kidney failure needing dialysis or a kidney transplant.
What causes of kidney problems?
High blood pressure (hypertension) is believed to be both a cause of nephropathy in diabetes, as well as a result of the damage that is caused. As kidney disease progresses, physical changes in the kidneys often lead to increased blood pressure.
The onset and progression of diabetic nephropathy can be slowed by intensive management of diabetes and blood glucose, including taking medications to lower blood pressure.
What can I do?
Your doctor or nurse will determine treatment based on your age, overall health and other factors. You can help by -
- Keeping blood glucose levels as close to agreed targets as possible
- Keeping blood pressure levels at <130/80 mmHg or as individually agreed with your healthcare professional
- Managing cholesterol levels
- Healthy and balanced eating and managing weight
- Staying active and exercising regularly
- Taking any medication that is prescribed and attending all appointments made with your healthcare team