Diabetes and Risk of Kidney Failure
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Strokes result from damage to the blood vessels, while kidney failure is caused by damage to the structures that normally filter the blood.
Diabetes and Stroke
During a stroke, the normal flow of blood to the brain is significantly reduced or cut off. This is most often the result of a blood clot in an artery, and the cause of the clot is usually atherosclerosis, or hardening of the arteries. This condition both narrows blood vessels and makes their inner walls rougher, which allows clots to form and stick in place.
Normally, other blood vessels have a good chance of taking over and delivering the missing blood to the brain within a short time. In these cases, the stroke may be symptomless or only present symptoms for a short time. With diabetes, however, the other blood vessels are often equally damaged and may already be clogged. This causes what would normally be minor events to become full-blown strokes much more often than they otherwise would.
Diabetic Kidney Failure
Diabetic kidney failure results from damage to the nephrons – the structures responsible for filtering toxins from the blood. For this reason, the technical term for the disease is diabetic nephropathy. The end result of the disease is typically full failure of the kidneys, but there are things that can be done to slow its progression.
The first step to slowing or halting diabetic kidney failure is to fully control one's blood sugar. This is critical even for those who show no symptoms of kidney problems. It can take years for the damage to accumulate enough to show symptoms. By then, the destruction is usually quite advanced.
Controlling blood pressure is also crucial to preventing kidney disease. High blood pressure, or hypertension, is in itself a cause of kidney damage. Combined with diabetes, it presents an extreme risk of developing this complication.
Advanced Treatment for Kidney Failure
Those with end-stage kidney disease face dialysis as they await a kidney transplant. While dialysis will prolong life, many patients believe undergoing these treatments is far from ideal. Fortunately, dialysis isn't as hard to tolerate as it used to be. Modern medical centers often provide a variety of options to meet patients' needs.
Dialysis no longer needs to be done in a hospital setting. For many patients, it can be done at home with a small machine. Another option is peritoneal dialysis; this procedure involves placing a membrane inside the peritoneum, or abdominal lining. A solution is then placed inside the abdomen to facilitate filtration. Since no machine is involved, patients have much more mobility than otherwise possible.
These are just a couple of options for dialysis. Each major type can be applied in a wide variety of ways. Patients should speak to their doctors to find the most convenient and comfortable methods that can be used in their cases. It is very likely that the prescribed treatment will be much easier to handle than the patient originally expected.
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