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November 2023

Take Care of Your Kidneys When You Have Other Chronic Conditions

Many people with chronic kidney disease (CKD) also have other long-term health concerns. Diabetes and high blood pressure are especially common. If you have one (or both) of these conditions, as well as CKD, here’s good news: You can take steps to protect your kidneys and manage your overall health.

Diabetes, high blood pressure, and CKD

First, it helps to understand how all these conditions are related. Diabetes and high blood pressure are major causes of CKD. If they aren’t controlled, they can keep harming your kidneys in various ways. For example:

  • High blood sugar from diabetes can damage nephrons (tiny filters) and blood vessels in your kidneys.

  • High blood pressure can damage arteries around your kidneys, reducing the flow of blood to the organ.

Taking charge of your blood sugar and blood pressure helps prevent CKD from getting worse. It also reduces your risk of developing further health problems, such as heart disease.

Tips for a healthy life and happy kidneys

These steps can help you manage diabetes and high blood pressure—and, as a result, help keep your kidneys working better for longer:

  • Ask your provider to set blood sugar and blood pressure targets for you. Then work together to achieve these goals.

  • Take any recommended medications as directed. Talk with your provider about options that help protect your kidneys.

  • Eat a healthy diet—and know what that means for you. Choosing the right foods may take a little extra thought when you have both diabetes and CKD. A registered dietitian can offer personalized advice.

  • Find physical activities you enjoy and keep moving. Along with improving blood sugar and blood pressure control, staying active may reduce your risk for heart disease.

Get your kidney values checked regularly to see how well your kidneys are doing. If needed, your provider can adjust your meds or suggest new lifestyle changes. That way, you can stay on track with all your health conditions.


Date Last Reviewed: 9/1/2023
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