Diabetic nephropathy is a common complication, which develops in people with diabetes. Everyone who has diabetes does not develop diabetic nephropathy and everyone who develops diabetic nephropathy does not progress to renal failure. All the complications of diabetes including diabetic nephropathy can be prevented or delayed by taking appropriate care. Read to know measures that can help you to delay or prevent diabetic nephropathy.
- Maintain your blood sugar: Glycosylated haemoglobin (HbA1c) is a good marker for the evaluation of long term blood sugar control in diabetic patients. According to studies, the risk of complications due to diabetes increases in people with high HbA1c levels. Your aim should be to maintain the blood sugar and get the HbA1c levels as normal as possible. Experts say that HbA1C <6.3% is considered as a very good glycemic control and between 6.3 and 7.1% is good glycemic control. Regular follow up with your doctor and taking your medications as recommended are important to maintain blood sugar in the normal range.
- Be at a healthy weight: Being overweight or obese increases insulin resistance, makes blood glucose control difficult and decreases efficacy of medications. If you are obese or overweight, aim to reduce your weight and achieve a BMI of < 24.9 kg/m2(body mass index of 18.5–24.9 kg/m2 is considered normal). Being at a healthy weight or reducing body weight can significantly reduce insulin resistance; improve blood glucose control and efficacy of medications.
- Eat healthy: Healthy eating habits are an important and indispensible part of diabetes control plan. People with diabetes should eat food with complex carbohydrates, low glycemic index and avoid food with simple sugar. Include fruits and vegetables, whole grain food products like brown rice rather than white rice, whole-grain bread instead of white bread and low fat dairy products in your diet. Food with low glycemic index such as whole grains, whole fruits, vegetables and pulses can decrease the rise in blood sugar. Consult your doctor or a dietician to know about your specific dietary requirements.
- Exercise regularly: Sedentary lifestyle makes control of blood sugar more difficult. It also worsens other diseases present in people with diabetes such as hypertension and increase in blood cholesterol levels. Regular physical activity or exercise for about 30 minutes on most days of the week can help decrease insulin resistance, reduce weight and improve blood sugar control. Do any exercise that you like and can easily do on a daily basis.
- Medications: People with diabetes may need oral hypoglycaemic drugs or insulin to control blood sugar in addition to lifestyle changes (such as healthy eating and regular exercises). It is advisable to take your medications as prescribed. If your blood sugar readings become normal, do not stop taking your medications. Take all your medications regularly and do not make changes without consulting your doctor.
- Avoid smoking and alcohol: Studies have shown that smoking and alcohol increase the risk of diabetic nephropathy.
- Control your blood pressure: The risk of diabetic nephropathy is higher in people with high blood pressure. Experts recommend regular monitoring of blood pressure in people with diabetes.
These are some measures to prevent diabetic nephropathy. Consult your doctor to know more on measures that can help prevent or delay onset of diabetic nephropathy.
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