Researchers from Melbourne and Sweden say they have found a way to halt the progression of diabetic kidney disease or nephropathy -- a complication that affects as many as 30% of people with type 1 diabetes, and 10-40% of people with type 2 diabetes. These researchers have developed "2H10" -- a drug that they say prevents fatty acids from accumulating in the kidneys. Immunologist and co-author of the study, Dr Andrew Nash says that his team's discovery is so important as current diabetic kidney disease treatments "don't work very well," and "do little to slow the loss of kidney function, and less to reverse it". Dr Nash predicts that human trials over 2H10 will be underway late this year. Watch this space for more details.
WHY ARE YOUR KIDNEYS SO IMPORTANT?
"Our kidneys filter blood through a system of small vessels, which allows waste products to pass through in the form of urine," explains Diabetic Living endocrinologist Dr Sultan Linjawi. "Useful things like protein and red blood cells are retained. High blood glucose levels and high blood pressure can cause damage to these blood vessels, which means the kidneys are less capable of retaining those useful products, specifically protein," he says.
HOW CAN YOU PROTECT YOURSELF FROM KIDNEY DISEASE?
‘Keeping your blood glucose levels and blood pressure as close as possible to the normal range will reduce your risk of developing kidney disease," says Dr Linjawi. "It’s a good idea to also limit the amount of sodium in your diet and drink plenty of water. Certain medications may be a problem; your specialist will be able to advise if you are taking something that should be avoided if you are at risk of kidney disease."
WHAT ARE THE CURRENT TREATMENT OPTIONS FOR KIDNEY DISEASE?
"If you’ve already been diagnosed with kidney disease, you will still benefit from maintaining good control of your blood glucose levels and blood pressure," says Dr Linjawi. "Your doctor may prescribe a medication called an ACE inhibitor to help slow the progression of the disease and you may be referred to a dietitian to reduce the amount of protein in your diet. Your nephrologist (kidney specialist) may recommend you for dialysis or transplant if your kidney function falls to 10-15 per cent."