Kidney stones are one of the complications of diabetes mellitus that can affect diabetics (people with diabetes). This condition is common in people who are over 40 years old. Let's find out more about kidney stones as a complication of diabetes mellitus below.
What is diabetes?
Diabetes is a condition where your body doesn't produce enough insulin or can't use it properly. Insulin is an important substance for regulating blood sugar levels. High blood sugar can cause problems in every part of your body, including the kidneys.
Then, how can kidney stones become a complication of diabetes?
Kidney stones appear when you have certain substances in your urine. Some kidney stones are formed from excess calcium oxalate. While others are from struvite, gout, or cysteine.
Kidney stones can be found all the way from the kidney to your urinary tract. These small stones can also come out of your body with urine with little or no pain at all.
Larger kidney stones can cause severe pain. They can even nest in your urinary tract until it can block the flow of urine and cause infection or bleeding.
Other symptoms of kidney stones include:
- back or stomach pain
If you have type 2 diabetes, you may have acidic urine. This is because ammonium produced by the body which is supposed to be in charge of neutralizing acid in the urine will decrease in people with insulin resistance. This is what can increase the risk of diabetes complications in the form of kidney stones.
If you experience symptoms of severe kidney stones, contact your doctor immediately. Your doctor may diagnose kidney stones based on your symptoms. Analysis of urine, blood tests, and images may be needed to confirm the diagnosis.
What other factors cause kidney stones?
Anyone can experience kidney stones. Apart from complications of diabetes, other risk factors for kidney stones include:
- A diet high in animal protein
- History of kidney stones in the family
- Diseases and conditions that affect the kidney
- Diseases and conditions that affect the amount of calcium and certain acids in your body
- Urinary tract disorders or chronic inflammation of the intestine
Certain medications can also make you have a higher risk of developing kidney stones. Among them are:
- Diuretic drug
- Antacid drugs containing calcium
- Supplements containing calcium
- Topiramate (Topamax, Qudexy XR), anti-seizure medication
- Indinavir (Crixivan), a drug used in treating HIV infections
Sometimes, there are other causes that cannot be determined.
How to treat kidney stones?
Diabetes complications such as small kidney stones do not always require treatment. You might be advised to drink more water to help remove kidney stones. You will know if you have drunk enough water if your urine is pale or clear. Dark urine means that you don't drink enough water.
Painkillers on the market may be enough to relieve pain for small kidney stones. If not, doctors can recommend stronger drugs. In some cases, your doctor may prescribe alpha blockers to help you get rid of kidney stones faster.
Large kidney stones due to diabetes complications are usually more disturbing. You may need painkillers from a stronger doctor's prescription. This condition can cause bleeding, urinary tract infections, or even damage the kidneys.
One of the commonly used treatments is extracorporeal shock wave lithotripsy, which uses shock waves to break rocks. If the stone is in the ureter, your doctor may be able to solve it with a ureteroscope. If your stone is very large and cannot remove itself, you may need to do surgery.
How to reduce the risk of kidney stones?
When you suffer from kidney stones, you are at a higher risk of experiencing a deteriorating health condition. You can reduce your overall risk by maintaining a nutritious diet and managing your weight. Drinking lots of water every day is important. Drink about 8 glasses of water or drinks that are not calorie every day. Orange juice can also help.
If you already have kidney stones and want to try to prevent the formation of other kidney stones, find out first what causes your kidney stones. That will help you to prevent kidney stones in the future.
When diagnosed as having kidney stones, your doctor may ask to collect urine and take the stones in it. Laboratory analysis can help determine the origin of stones in your body. This type of stone will help your doctor decide what changes should be made to your diet.
Some kidney stones are formed from calcium oxalate but that doesn't mean you have to avoid calcium. Too little calcium can make oxalate levels increase. The best way to get daily calcium is from food. You will also need a large amount of vitamin D to absorb the appropriate calcium.
Excess sodium can increase calcium in your urine. Reducing eating salty foods can help.
Too much animal protein can increase uric acid and increase the occurrence of stone formation. Lower your risk by eating red meat. Other foods can also cause kidney stones. Limit consumption of chocolate, tea and soda.
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