World Kidney Day 2021: Dr Ajay Gupta Explains How Hypertension And Diabetes Affect Kidney Diseases In Elderly

Diabetes and Hypertension: Have these Diseases Become The Biggest Cause of Kidney Problems in the Old-Aged People?

Tavishi Dogra
Written by: Tavishi DograPublished at: Mar 10, 2021Updated at: Mar 10, 2021
World Kidney Day 2021: Dr Ajay Gupta Explains How Hypertension And Diabetes Affect Kidney Diseases In Elderly

World Kidney Day 2021: World Kidney Day is celebrated to bring awareness about Kidney Diseases. It is a global drive to increase awareness about the importance of kidney diseases, kidney health care, ways to prevent kidney stones, kidney failure and chronic kidney disease. Environmental pollutants, chronic diseases, severe conditions can be dangerous to the kidneys. If your kidney fails, then the amount of toxins in your body starts increasing, which can be fatal for you.

With the hyper development in the technological and medical sciences, people live longer, as average human lifespans have increased dramatically in the last few decades. By 2050, it has been determined that the elderly population will become up to 2 billion strong. However, the catch is that there is a parallel rise in the number of medical issues, like acute and chronic kidney diseases and older adults. Our kidneys are vital in maintaining our overall health, as they filter waste and excess fluids from our blood; however, due to the exponential increase in non-communicable diseases. (NCD) The world's burden has become common for people in the developed and many developing countries to be diagnosed with different kidney diseases and, in worst cases, complete kidney failures. The percentage of elderly patients with chronic kidney disease (CKD) and ESRD have increased steadily over the years. With around 62.3% of the instances, diabetes stands as one of the most common causes of CKD (Chronic Kidney Disease), followed by hypertension as the second leading cause accounting for 28% of cases of end-stage renal disease (ESRD). In another retrospective analysis conducted by SRL Diagnostics in India, it is also revealed that high blood pressure and diabetes impacts over 26% and 21% of kidney cases in the elderly, respectively.

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Diabetes and Kidney Diseases

  • The kidney helps the body to filter out the things that your body does not need. Kidneys produce hormones, help control your blood pressure and are also necessary for maintaining the balance of electrolyte and acid in the body. Chronic kidney disease (CKD) is when the kidney does not function properly after some time. The CKD problem is widespread in diabetes, and many times its symptoms are not even known. Diabetes can make your kidneys work slowly and in many stages; due to diabetes, the kidneys have to work harder. As the years' pass, they do not work the way they should. High blood sugar level causes the blood vessels of your kidneys to shrink and become blocked.

Diabetes and Kidney Diseases

  • Researches over the years, have revealed a significant correlation between Diabetes and Chronic Kidney Disease. Diabetes kidney disease (DKD) is one of the most common and dangerous complications of Type-2 Diabetes Mellitus and affects about one-third of the patients. Many studies have also found that the disease is indiscriminating towards all genders and has an equal impact on males and females. However, a continuously increasing trend seen in the percentage of diabetes patients having abnormal creatinine with age, with the highest (22%) abnormality is seen in older patients above 85.
  • You may also have a complaint of microalbuminuria, in which some part of albumin (the protein present in the blood) starts to leak into your urine. Not only this, but the condition of proteinuria (excess protein in urine) can also develop in your body, and the rate of albumin leakage in urine also increases. This condition also affects your kidney's ability to filter. As a result, faeces (non-essential substances) in the blood begin to grow at a dangerous level, which causes many problems. After all, the kidney can fail if your kidney disease reaches a worse condition.  

Hypertension and Kidney Diseases

Hypertension and Kidney Diseases

On the other hand, hypertension is both an important cause and consequence of chronic kidney disease. High blood pressure, also identified as hypertension, results from the increasing pressure of your blood against your blood vessels' walls. The filters in the kidney and blood vessels might get under threat of being damaged, further causing difficulty in waste removal from the body. In the absence of timely measures, hypertension can become a leading cause of chronic kidney diseases and heart attacks and strokes. Eat these things to prevent kidney failure (Kidney Failure Diet): If you are undergoing kidney treatment, it is essential to follow some dietary changes. You need to reduce your potassium and sodium intake and do not exceed 2 grams in a day. Your phosphorus intake should also not exceed 1 gram per day. During the early stages of kidney disease, you also need to cut down on protein consumption. You can contact the doctor for more information about kidney failure. 

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How to Prevent Kidney Diseases?

There are various effective treatments available to cure kidney diseases; however, people are often unaware that kidney diseases can be well prevented a lot of time. Hypertension and diabetes are the 2 main reasons for kidney diseases, and when these two are controlled adequately through treatment, the associated kidney issues can be often be prevented or at least slowed down. On World Kidney Day, let us educate people about avoiding diseases from impacting our kidneys. The primary key to preventing kidney diseases is to get to the depth of their causes.

  • Hypertension or High Blood Pressure: For patients with a kidney disease caused by high blood pressure, the first step to treatment will control the blood pressure levels, which can be done through lifestyle changes. There are also various effective drugs available to control blood pressure further. In terms of healthy lifestyle changes, one can add regular exercises to their routine, as losing excess weight helps a lot in controlling and preventing blood pressure issues.

  • Diabetes: A diabetic person often has the chances of getting kidney problems. To prevent it from happening, one must be mindful of the blood sugar levels. Maintaining a healthy diet and getting a moderate amount of physical exercise is extremely important to control blood sugar levels. It will not only prevent kidney diseases but also help you stay away from coronary heart disease and stroke.
  • Other Causes: Apart from hypertension and diabetes, there is another disease responsible for kidney diseases, called Glomerulonephritis. It damages the glomeruli, called the filtering units of the kidneys. In many cases, the cause behind this disease remains unknown; however, some of the issues are triggered by an infection, and in some others, it is inherited.

In addition to that, our kidneys may get affected by several other causes like infections, kidney stones, and even inherited diseases like polycystic kidney disease. Over-use of un-prescribed painkillers or substance abuse can also cause severe damage to our kidneys. While some of the specific problems can be healed entirely, in some cases, treatments can help to prolong life and slow down the disease.

Also read: Know about Diabetic Retinopathy and How to Prevent it


Dr Ajay Gupta

About 1,75,000 new kidney failure cases occur every year in India and require dialysis or a kidney transplant. About 60 to 70 per cent of chronic kidney disease (CKD) cases are diabetes and hypertension. After about 90 per cent of the kidney functions are disrupted, occurs end-stage kidney disease. The common symptoms of kidney failure include nausea, vomiting, weakness, fatigue, confusion, difficulty concentrating, and appetite loss. The diagnosis of the same is made through blood and urine test.

(Inputs By Dr Ajay Gupta MD, Section Head - Autoimmune and Clinical Pathology, SRL Diagnostics)

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