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Chronic Kidney Disease(CKD)

CKD Monitoring

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I Have Kidney Disease. Why Monitor My Blood Sugar?

Nina Ghamrawi, MS, RD, CDE
3
May 18, 2022

When you have pre-diabetes or diabetes, or even if you have the slightest risk of getting high blood sugar, you should keep an eye on your blood sugar and try to keep them steady. High blood sugar level can damage your arteries and organs, and especially your sensitive kidneys. Knowing when you are at risk for high blood sugar and keeping watch is one of the ways you can protect your kidneys from further damage. Read on to know why, and when to check your blood sugar to protect your kidneys.

But I have Kidney Disease. Why check my blood sugar?

Once the blood sugar level gets above 180 mg/dl, the kidneys start to dump extra sugar into the urine. The higher the blood sugar, say, after a meal, the more sugar the kidneys must filter out in the urine. When the kidneys are not already damaged or aging, this is usually not a problem. But as we age, our kidneys may naturally begin to age, as well. When you have diabetes, too much sugar can cause kidney stress, and will damage those aging kidneys.

Research suggests that damage to organs, including the kidneys, can even begin during the pre-diabetes stage. Oftentimes, people don’t have symptoms when their blood sugar change is slowly inching higher.

When should I check my blood sugar?

If you have a family history, but don’t yet have any blood sugar issues:

  • Check your Hemoglobin A1C every year (this is your average blood sugar level over a 3-month period)

If you have pre-diabetes, keep an eye on it. Since it can rise over time, or with changes to stress, diet, financial income, or routine:

  • Check your A1C with a lab every 6 months to 1 year
  • You may start checking your blood sugar before and 2 hours after meals a couple times per month to see how your body responds to different foods.

If you have been told by your doctor that your diabetes is well-controlled, then you should do a combination of two things:

  • Check your fasting blood sugar at least 2 times per week, and
  • Check blood sugar before the first bite of a meal, and 2 hours after (the blood sugar should rise no more than 50 points)
  • Check your A1C every 3 to 6 months depending on the type of diabetes you have, and your Doctor’s recommendations.

If diabetes is not well-controlled, check your blood sugar more often, especially around times when it may rise, such as stressful days, or after meals, and talk to your Diabetes Educator or Doctor about how to prevent these highs.

Takeaways

Whether you have Diabetes or just a family history of it, keeping an eye on your blood sugar is crucial to protect your kidneys from further damage. You should check both your Hemoglobin A1C via a lab test, and your blood sugar at home (especially fasted and after meals). Keeping blood sugar controlled with a healthful diet, exercise, and medications will help you protect your kidneys from further damage. Talk to your Doctor about how often you should check blood sugar, ask for a periodic Hemoglobin A1C check, and check with your Dietitian about ways you can improve your diet. Your UnifiedCare team is always around to help you.