Diabetes, kidney disease, and high blood pressure are a triple threat to many American’s who may be unaware. For those diagnosed with one of the health problems, it is crucial to understand the association between all three conditions for prevention.
Overall, the interaction between diabetes, high blood pressure, and kidney disease can be challenging for people to grasp. Still, understanding is vital for anybody who wants to reduce their risk. This interplay of conditions usually begins with diabetes, which can affect small blood vessels. This can then result in hypertension, and that can result in kidney disease. “It is essentially a vicious circle,” says Dr. Vivek Bhalla, past chair of the American Heart Association’s Council on the Kidney in Cardiovascular Disease.
The cycle begins with diabetes, causing kidneys to become less efficient at filtering blood and stiffening blood vessels. This leads to high blood pressure. High blood pressure accelerates kidney disease, which is similar to throwing kerosene on a fire. High blood pressure then raises once again and can become the root of many heart-related problems.
According to the CDC, it is estimated that 37% of adults in the United States who have been diagnosed with diabetes also have chronic kidney disease. The National Kidney Foundation also estimates up to 40% of people with type 2 diabetes eventually will develop kidney failure.
Unfortunately, for many people, this cycle can go on without them even knowing. Most people with type 2 diabetes do not receive a diagnosis for about five years into having the disease. High blood pressure is widely known as the “silent killer,” and kidney disease has no symptoms until it is almost end-stage.
New Generation of Drugs
Research has shown that one way to stop this vicious cycle is through a new generation of diabetes drugs. One type known as SGLT2 inhibitors works by preventing blood sugar from being absorbed by the kidneys. Another type called GLP-1 receptor agonists mimics a hormone that helps the pancreas produce insulin. They both promote and support healthy blood glucose levels.
These drugs are “game-changing therapies,” said Dr. Janani Rangaswami, writer for AHA scientific statement on the drugs. Not only do the medicines dramatically cut deaths from kidney disease, but studies also show they can reduce rates of heart failure, stroke, and death from cardiovascular causes. Multiple trials looking at patients with varying risk profiles have shown these benefits pretty consistently.”
Health care professionals agree that many people can reduce the risk of many problems by living a healthy lifestyle. By reducing blood sugar in a daily diet and losing any unwanted pounds, the risk of diabetes can be reduced. This is also a good way to reduce high blood pressure and prevent kidney disease. It is not easy to achieve, but it is possible, and it just may be the key to preventing all three conditions—diabetes, high blood pressure, and kidney disease.