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  • If You Have Diabetes, You’re At Risk Of Hypertension And Kidney Diseases

    There are other health complications.
    by Jocelyn Valle .
If You Have Diabetes, You’re At Risk Of Hypertension And Kidney Diseases
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  • Editor's Note: The following article is intended for information and educational purposes only. It does not substitute a doctor. It is vital to always consult a medically trained professional for advice that suits best your needs.

    A lot of people know that diabetes is a disease that involves having high blood glucose, or more commonly known as blood sugar, so eating sweets should be taken in moderation. But not many people know that diabetes is also linked to high blood pressure and kidney problems, also known as hypertension in diabetic nephropathy.

    What causes diabetes?

    A person develops diabetes when his or her body doesn't make any or enough insulin, according to the United States National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK).

    Insulin is the hormone produced by the pancreas to help the glucose from the food you eat get to your cells. Glucose is then used by your body as its main source of energy. So when there's not enough insulin, glucose stays in your blood and doesn't reach your cells.

    Having too much glucose in your blood will then cause diabetes and other health problems. There are several types of diabetes, with the chronic and most common ones being type 1 and type 2. Other types, such as prediabetes and gestational diabetes can be reversible when treated immediately.

    There's no cure for type 1 and type 2 diabetes, but experts say steps can be taken to manage the condition and avoid complications. (Read here how to check your blood glucose.)

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    Diabetes and hypertension

    People with diabetes are twice as likely to have high blood pressure or hypertension compared to those without diabetes, according to the experts at Johns Hopkins Medicine.

    They explain that when left untreated, high blood pressure can lead to heart disease and stroke. They also point out that a person with both diabetes and high blood pressure is four times more likely to develop heart diseases compared to another person who doesn't have any of the two conditions.

    Heart diseases, such as the atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease (ASCVD), is "the leading cause of morbidity and mortality for individuals with diabetes and is the largest contributor to the direct and indirect costs of diabetes." That's according to the experts from the American Diabetes Association (ADA).

    But they also say that there's hope as numerous studies have shown that medical management, just like the antihypertensive therapy reduces ASCVD events, heart failure, and microvascular complications in people with diabetes.

    Diabetes and kidney diseases

    About 25 percent of people with type 1 and type 2 diabetes eventually develop kidney diseases, according to Mayo Clinic. That condition is called diabetic nephropathy or diabetic kidney disease, and it's often serious.

    Diabetic nephropathy happens when your kidney is having problems doing its job taking out waste products and extra fluid from your body. Experts says that the best way to prevent, or at least delay, the onset of diabetic nephropathy is to maintain a healthy lifestyle and manage your diabetes, as well as your high blood pressure.

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    If diabetic nephropathy already sets in, it will slowly damage the delicate filtering system of your kidneys until they can no longer function properly. This may lead to kidney failure or the end-stage kidney disease, which can only be treated by dialysis or a kidney transplant.

    Hypertension in diabetic nephropathy

    In the medical paper titled "Hypertension in Diabetic Nephropathy: Epidemiology, Mechanisms, and Management," authors Peter N. Van Buren and Robert Toto point out that the mechanism of hypertension in diabetic nephropathy is "complex" and "incompletely understood."

    The researchers enumerated some of the implications, including:

    • Excess sodium retention
    • Sympathetic nervous system (SNS)
    • Renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system (RAAS) activation
    • Endothelial cell dysfunction (ECD)
    • Increased oxidative stress

    They also offer that "both non-pharmacological and pharmacological interventions, including RAAS antagonists, are critically important in the management of hypertension in diabetic nephropathy."

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