If you have
diabetes, work with your doctor to keep your blood
sugar levels within your target range. By managing your blood sugar, you
can reduce the chances of developing
nephropathy, or you can slow the disease if you
already have it.1 Your doctor will want you to check
your blood sugar several times each day. For more information, see:
- Diabetes: Checking Your Blood Sugar.
Other steps you can take include the following:
- Check your blood pressure often, and also have it checked at your
doctor's office. The American Diabetes Association recommends a target blood
pressure of less than 130/80 millimeters of mercury (mm Hg).1 The level recommended by other groups may vary. Talk with
your doctor about the target blood pressure that is right for you. Learn to
check your blood pressure at home. For more information, see:
- High Blood Pressure: Checking Your Blood Pressure at Home.
- Be sure to take your blood pressure medicines as
- Don't take medicines that damage or stress the
nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs).
- Follow the nutrition guidelines for hypertension
Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension, or DASH, diet). For more information, see:
- High Blood Pressure: Using the DASH Diet.
- Stay at a healthy weight for your height and age
by eating a well-balanced diet and exercising regularly. A low-fat diet and
regular exercise also will lower your risk of heart and blood vessel
(cardiovascular) disease. A healthy weight is one that is right for your body type and height
and is based on your
body mass index (BMI) and the size of your waist (waist circumference). If you
are age 20 or older, use the
Interactive Tool: Is Your BMI Increasing Your Health Risks? to check
your BMI when you know your height in feet, weight in
pounds, and waist circumference.
- Do not smoke or use other tobacco products. People with diabetes
who smoke raise their risk of nephropathy, cardiovascular disease, and other
complications of diabetes.
- Eat a moderate amount of protein. If you have nephropathy, your
doctor may recommend limiting protein. Limiting how much protein you eat may
help you preserve kidney function. Talk to your doctor or
dietitian about how much protein is best for
- Limit salt. Your doctor may recommend that you cut back on
salt, because salt may make your high blood pressure worse.
What to Think About
If your diabetic nephropathy
becomes worse and kidney failure develops, you may need to follow a specific
diet. A dietitian can help you understand the requirements of this diet and
help you make healthy choices. For more information, see:
- Chronic Kidney Disease: Changing Your Diet.