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Diabetes is Leading Cause of Kidney Disease: How Understanding the Link Helps Slow Progression of these Chronic Conditions

Nearly 122 million people in the United States are living with diabetes or prediabetes. This condition is the leading cause of kidney disease – where the kidneys lose function over time until they fail. In fact, one in three adults with diabetes has developed kidney disease.

Raising awareness about the link between these two chronic conditions is the first step to improving the health of people at risk of kidney failure. That’s why health care provider DaVita Kidney Care has collaborated with the American Diabetes Association (ADA) to help increase early detection and risk reduction for kidney disease.

“Our partnership with DaVita has created a platform for the American Diabetes Association to get information to those who need it most,” said Dr. Bob Gabbay, chief scientific medical officer for the ADA. “We’re working together to build awareness about the connection between diabetes and kidney disease – and to help people with these conditions manage their health.”

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Understanding the Issue

Fifty percent of people with very low kidney function don’t know they have kidney disease. By the time many people discover the state of their health, their kidneys have failed and they need a transplant or dialysis treatment to live.

“We’re committed to addressing kidney failure holistically, which includes getting ahead of kidney disease to help patients receive preventative care,” said Dr. Jeff Giullian, chief medical officer for DaVita. “We’re also ensuring there are no-cost tools available to help people address and manage these conditions before they progress.”

Early detection of diabetes is proven to prevent life-altering complications like kidney failure. Testing is a simple but essential tool to detect risk for diabetes and monitor the disease’s progress. For those living with diabetes, it’s critical to get your kidneys checked regularly by a doctor through simple blood and urine tests.

Education is Available

Because people living with diabetes are at greater risk of developing kidney disease, the ADA is helping to get the word out about DaVita’s Kidney Smart classes. These no-cost classes are open to anyone and led by kidney experts. They provide communities with an overview of kidney disease risks, detection information, and diet and nutrition resources.

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Diet is a connecting point between diabetes and kidney disease, as a key driver of type 2 diabetes and a critical part of maintaining kidney health. Through the ADA’s Health Equity Now initiative, DaVita is working with the ADA to help provide adults with type 2 diabetes with lifestyle guidance such as maintaining a healthy weight, delivered through on-demand education. Focusing on exercise and medications along with a healthy diet are among the best early treatments for kidney disease.

It’s more important than ever to take these necessary steps towards better health and wellness for everyone.

Celebrating small wins when it comes to your health is just as essential as prevention. Small wins become big victories and little changes turn into lifelong habits. Organizations like the ADA and DaVita Kidney Care are here to help celebrate these wins. Through awareness, education, and illness management, we can all work together to lower the number of Americans with diabetes and kidney disease. We can create a better life for those living with these conditions!


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