Diabetics who avoid kidney disease can live longer

Living a long life despite diabetes might have to do with healthy kidneys, a new study reports.

Research published in the Journal of the American Society of Nephrology found that the 10-year mortality rate of type 2 diabetics with kidney disease was more than 31 percent. For people with just type 2 diabetes, the rate was 12 percent. And for those without diabetes or kidney disease, the rate dropped to 8 percent.

"We've all been trained to think of type 2 diabetes as a bad thing, but it's particularly bad when you get kidney disease too," said study author Dr. Maryam Afkarian.

A co-dependent relationship

To determine how kidney disease and diabetes work together to produce poorer health, the researchers looked at data that included more than 15,000 people--42 percent of those people with type 2 diabetes also had kidney disease.

The biggest risk factor for developing kidney problems is blood sugar imbalances, and Afkarian notes that kidney disease can be prevented by monitoring glucose levels carefully.

Dr. Joel Zonszein, director of the Clinical Diabetes Center at Montefiore Medical Center in New York City, says that those with high blood pressure may also be at risk.

"There's a nice correlation between A1C (a long-term measure of blood sugar control) and kidney disease," he said. "And people without high blood pressure tend to do better."

Prevention

Because kidney disease can be easily prevented, experts say it's important for diabetics who need to be on cholesterol and blood pressure medications to be taking these drugs. And patients with both diabetes and kidney disease should be under close watch of their physicians.

"There's a long time to intervene before kidney disease sets in," Afkarian said. "It can make all the difference in the world."

Source: US News Health

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