Diet Choices Can Reduce Kidney Risks for Diabetics

diet diabetesFor individuals living with diabetes, the prospect of kidney disease is a fairly constant threat and fear. Because of the ways that elevated blood glucose levels can impact the whole body, the kidneys—which filter waste out of the body—are particularly prone to damage over time. For this reason, diabetics are typically given instructions on how to manage their blood glucose levels, with tools such as glucose meter kits, which require a large quantity of test strips such as accu-chek aviva glucose test strips, or prodigy test strips to go with that proprietary system.

Diabetics are also schooled on taking their medication—whether oral medication or injected insulin—to keep their bodies functioning normally, requiring a syringe supply or insulin pen needles or insulin pump supplies, depending on the preferred method of administration. A new study has shown that diet can impact kidney risks in a major way for diabetics; important news, and some of the findings run counter to established beliefs about kidney risks.

A study published in August in the JAMA Internal Medicine journal followed 6,200 type two diabetes patients over the course of five and a half years and discovered that some 32% of the subjects developed chronic kidney disease and about 8% died during the follow-up period. While this initially seems like bad news, there were findings that show a great deal of promise in the constant war to avoid chronic kidney disease in patients with diabetes. Interestingly, contrary to previous belief, those patients with the lowest intake of total and animal protein were more likely to develop disease than those with the highest intake. Moderate alcohol intake was associated with a lowered risk of kidney disease and a lower risk of death. Perhaps even more surprisingly, sodium intake was not associated with kidney disease risk. A news release summarized the findings, stating, “A healthy diet and moderate intake of alcohol may decrease the incidence or progression of [chronic kidney disease] among individuals with type 2 diabetes. Sodium intake, within a wide range, and normal protein intake are not associated with [chronic kidney disease].” Of course, blood glucose control is still important, meaning that individuals with diabetes should continue to monitor their glucose levels with the help of products like accu-chek aviva glucose test strips and prodigy test strips, as well as other products going with the meter of their choice. And certainly medication should still be taken. Diabetics should be careful to avoid running out of their syringe supply, and making sure to order sufficient insulin pen needles or insulin pump supplies as needed.

Overall, patients with the healthiest, most varied diets had a lower risk of kidney disease, which is an important finding. Patients who ate more than three servings of fruit per week—previously considered in some circles to be bad for diabetics—were less likely to develop chronic kidney disease, for example. The accompanying commentary pointed to the difficulties that many diabetics experience with trying to accommodate the different advice they receive: “Perhaps the best dietary advice we can give to patients with type 2 diabetes and kidney disease is the same as the advice for those who want to avoid chronic kidney disease, and the same advice for preventing and treating hypertension, and the same dietary advice for everyone: Eat a diet rich in fruits and vegetables, low-fat dairy products, and whole grains while minimizing saturated and total fat.”

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