Can Diabetics Avoid Kidney Disease?

older man wearing a blue shirt and glasses( — Diabetes continues to be a great concern in the African-American community. More people are being diagnosed with diabetes every year. But if you manage your diabetes, it can help you feel good, have more energy, and you will more likely stay healthy and prevent problems, such as kidney disease.

What’s The Connection Between Diabetes and Kidney Disease

Chronic kidney disease (CKD) affects approximately 20 million adults in the United States, and the leading cause of CKD and kidney failure is diabetes.

What’s The First Step?

Knowing your risk for type 2 diabetes is an important first step toward preventing or delaying the onset of the disease (as well as the other diseases that being diabetic can make you more susceptible to). Find out your risk by taking the Diabetes Risk Test.

In addition to a family history, some other risk factors for type 2 diabetes include being:

• 45 years of age or older
• Overweight or obese
• An Hispanic/Latino, American Indian, Asian American, or Pacific Islander
• Having a history of gestational diabetes or giving birth to a baby weighing over 9 pounds
• Having high blood pressure of 140/90
• Having cholesterol (lipid) levels that are not normal:  HDL cholesterol (“good” cholesterol) less than 35 or triglyceride level higher than 250.

What Else Can I Do?

The good news is that people at risk for type 2 diabetes can prevent or delay the onset of the disease, and, in the process, maintain kidney health. By making some simple lifestyle changes, you can improve your overall health:

• Eat Healthy. Make healthy food choices such as fruits and vegetables, fish, lean meats, poultry without skin, dry beans and peas, whole grains, and low-fat or skim milk and cheese. Choose water to drink. Eat smaller portions. Make half your plate vegetables and/or fruits; one-fourth a whole grain, such as brown rice; and one-fourth a protein food, such as lean meat, poultry or fish, or dried beans.

• Lose Weight. If you are overweight, work with your health care team to create a lifestyle plan that includes losing a small amount of weight–5 to 7 percent (10 to 14 pounds for a 200-pound person)–and being more physically active.

• Exercise. Be active at least 30 minutes, 5 days per week to help you burn calories and lose weight. You don’t have to get all your physical activity at one time. Try getting some physical activity during the day in 10 minute sessions, 3 times a day. Choose something you enjoy. Ask family members to be active with you.

• Record Your Goals & Accomplishments. To help you reach your goals, write down all the foods you eat and drink and the number of minutes you are active. Review it each day.

NDEP has free resources to help you learn more about your risk for diabetes, as well as ways to help you lower your risk. Call 1-888-693-NDEP (1-888-693-6337) or visit for more information on how to prevent or delay type 2 diabetes. Ask for Your GAME PLAN to Prevent Type 2 Diabetes, a tip sheet called More than 50 Ways to Prevent Diabetes, It’s Never Too Early to Prevent Diabetes (for women with a history of gestational diabetes), It’s Not to Late to Prevent Diabetes (for older adults), and a tip sheet for youth at risk called Lower Your Risk for Type 2 Diabetes, in English or Spanish.

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