To Help Your Kidneys, Check Your Blood Sugar

Diabetic kidney damage may begin with prediabetes blood sugar levels

(RxWiki News) Even if you don't have full-blown diabetes, your blood sugar could still affect your kidney health.

A new study found that diabetic kidney damage may begin at blood sugar levels found in prediabetes — which is earlier than previously thought.

Diabetes — a condition in which the body produces too little insulin (a hormone that regulates blood sugar) or none at all — is one of the top causes of kidney damage around the world. But little research has looked at whether this kidney damage begins at prediabetes, which is the state of raised blood sugar that often leads to type 2 diabetes.

“Our research shows that the pathological process of kidney injury caused by elevated blood glucose levels starts in prediabetes, well before the onset of diabetes,” said study author Dr. Toralf Melsom, PhD, MD, associate professor and senior consultant in the Department of Nephrology at University Hospital of North Norway, in a press release.

Of the 1,261 middle-aged, white patients in this study, 595 had prediabetes. None had diabetes. Dr. Melsom and team followed study patients for 5.6 years on average.

The patients in this study with prediabetes were more likely than those without the condition to show early signs of kidney disease.

The good news? Prediabetes is not a permanent condition. Many patients with prediabetes never progress to type 2 diabetes — usually due to changes in diet, exercise and medications. Patients who are concerned about their risk for prediabetes or kidney damage should speak to their doctors.

This study was published Dec. 29 in the American Journal of Kidney Diseases. Information on funding sources and conflicts of interest was not available at the time of publication.

Review Date: 
January 4, 2016