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There is a lethal covert relationship among diabetes, hypertension and kidney failure. If not understood, or treated properly on time then it will have an adverse impact on health. Let us understand and get the clear picture of HOW?

Before getting on to HOW, let us first briefly get to know about these dangerous trio of diseases:


It is described as a group of metabolic diseases in which the person has elevated level of glucose in blood (blood sugar), because the body does not respond to, or does not possess a hormone insulin. This hormone helps the tissues and organs of the body absorb glucose from the blood.

When there is a shortage of insulin in the body, glucose starts to build up in the bloodstream, eventually affecting the kidneys and blood vessels.

Hypertension or High Blood Pressure:

Blood pressure is the force of blood flow inside your blood vessels. So if you have hypertension, it means that your blood is pumping through your heart and blood vessels with too much force. You are considered to have hypertension if your systolic pressure consistently exceeds 140mmHg, or your diastolic pressure is 90mmHg or more, or both.

Hypertension is also sometimes called as “silent killer” as its symptoms are not known.

Kidney Failure:

Approximately 180 litres of blood pass through your kidneys each day. Kidneys are the organs that filter waste products and extra fluids from the blood, reabsorb essential nutrients and water and remove the waste products created by your cells. These waste products will result in a form of urine, which is stored in your bladder. They are also involved in regulating blood pressure. Kidney failure is a state when kidneys have stopped working well enough for you to survive without dialysis or a kidney transplant. When the kidneys do not function properly or sufficiently, resulting in the accumulation of waste products and toxic materials in your blood.

If our kidneys function drops below 15%, we will require dialysis treatment or a kidney transplant.

The 2 leading causes of kidney failure are Diabetes and Hypertension.

How Is This Lethal Relationship Established:

The pressure in the blood vessels depends on how hard the heart pumps, and how much resistance there is in the blood vessels (arteries). It is thought that slight narrowing of the arteries increases the resistance to blood flow, which increases the blood pressure.

Having diabetes makes high blood pressure more likely, because diabetes damages arteries and makes them targets for hardening thus narrowing of the arteries (atherosclerosis) and Atherosclerosis can lead to high blood pressure.

Over time, uncontrolled high blood pressure can cause arteries around the kidneys to narrow, weaken or harden. These damaged arteries are not able to deliver enough blood to the kidney tissue.

Kidneys use a lot of blood vessels to do its job. In case of high blood pressure, blood vessels become damaged, the nephrons (functional unit in kidney) that filter your blood don’t receive the oxygen and nutrients that they need to function well. Eventually, it leads to kidney failure.

Nutrition for Healthy Kidneys:

By practising healthy eating, you are protecting yourself from metabolic diseases like diabetes and hypertension. Hence, you are reducing your chance of getting chronic kidney disease.

50% vegetables + 25% wholegrains like brown rice, or wholemeal pasta + 25% protein food like egg, fish, lean meat, or chicken (Non vegetarian), or plant-based protein like tofu, beans and legumes (Vegetarian) + 1 serving of fruit = 100% healthy plate

Water Is Your New Best Friend: Drink adequate water daily to keep yourself hydrated and decrease the risk of getting kidney stone. Minimise sugary drinks or sweetened beverages.

It is time to pay heed to Your Kidneys.


National Kidney Foundation, Singapore

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