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  • Juanita Weaver-Reiss

Part 9 in the series of 9 essential things to know if you have diabetes

I am continuing with the 9 essential things you need to know if you have diabetes.

Another test to have done to reduce your risk. This one is called the microalbumin test.

This is a urine test. It is used to detect very small amounts of blood protein (albumin) in the urine. It is used to detect early signs of kidney damage. The test is usually done one time per year.

The kidneys are about the size of your fists. They are filtering systems, but so much more. As far as the filtering they do, they filter out waste from our bodies through the urine. They balance the amount of fluids in the body. They release hormones that regulate your blood pressure. They produce an active form of Vitamin D that promotes strong and healthy bones. They also control the production of your red blood cells. In addition to all of these functions, the kidney also plays a role in glucose balance in the body.

That is a lot of work done by two relatively small organs in the body.

The filters

Each kidney contains up to a million filters that are called nephrons. A nephron consists of a filtering unit of blood vessels called a glomerulus attached to a tubule.

These filters filter 2 quarts of water every 24 hours. Some of the fluid leaves the body as urine. The rest of it is redirected or filtered back through the body.

The cause of protein in the urine

Normally, protein is not seen in the urine. The filters in the kidneys keep the protein in the blood. The microalbumin test, which tests for protein (albumin) in the urine would suggest that the filtering system is 'becoming loose' or is allowing the protein out of the blood and into the urine.

The 'lossening' of the filter system can be caused by a couple of different factors. If someone's blood pressure is elevated or if the glucose numbers are running high.

Target for Microalbumin

The target for the microalbumin test is < 30.

Action steps:

1. Ask your doctor for your test results.

2. Ask your doctor what your results mean.

3. Manage your glucose numbers. Aim to have an A1C < 7%.

4. Get your blood pressure to the target range. Aim for a blood pressure of < 140/90 or lower if you and your doctor have set a lower target.

Think of glucose and blood pressure like you do for the hot and cold faucets in your sink. If one of those faucets has a leak, water is still going down the drain. Same for protecting the kidneys. It takes both glucose and blood pressure both in target ranges to protect the kidneys well.

5. Eat a healthy diet.

  • Choose a wide variety of foods

  • Fruits and vegetables - aim for fresh or frozen over canned, which may contain a lot of sodium

  • These contain good sources of potassium, fiber, antioxidants, and vitamins

  • Go easy with your portions of meat, poultry, and fish. Include vegetarian choices for protein and use protein sources such as beans, lentils, and tofu.

  • Reduce foods that are high in sodium. These are processed foods, including frozen meals, cheese, snack foods, canned foods, boxed meals, and fast foods. A low sodium food is one that has no more than 140 milligrams of sodium per serving.

  • Limit your sugar intake. The American Heart Association recommends limiting sugar to 6 teaspoons per day for women and 9 teaspoons for men.

  • Added sugars have been found raise blood pressure

How to figure teaspoons for sugar from the food label

1 teaspoon has 4 grams of sugar

If the label reads 10 grams of added sugar, divide 10 grams by 4

10/4 =2.5 teaspoons of sugar

  • Choose healthy fats to include in your meal plan. sunflower, canola, olive, and peanut oils are good choices for oils.

  • Other healthy fats are avocado, nuts, seeds, and olives

  • Avoid trans fats. These are man made solid fats that raise the LDL (the bad kind of cholesterol) and lower your HDL's (the good kind of cholesterol)

  • Even if a label reads 0 grams of trans fat, it still can have trans fats in it.

  • Companies are allowed to have .5 grams of trans fat and still call it 0 grams.

  • Look at the ingredient list to see if there is hydrogenated in the list = trans fat in the food

  • Talk with your doctor about the amount of alcohol you drink. Typically 1 to 2 drinks per day is okay, but still ask.

  • If you smoke, plan to stop smoking. Smoking causes the blood vessel to get smaller or constrict and can affect kidney function

  • Ask your doctor about blood pressure medications called ACE's or ARB's. These may help to protect the kidney

What action steps do you need to take to protect your kidneys?

Schedule an education appointment to talk with your educator about steps to take to get blood pressure and glucose to target ranges.

Wishing you best health,


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