How Sweet It Is… Not

bluesYesterday was one of those low energy days for me, but I really wanted to go to Sustainable Blues.  So I did.  I need the socializing and that soulful blues music at least once a week. I lasted for the lesson and one dance past.

But then I got stupid.  You know those cravings for sweets when you’re tired?  CKDers get them, too.  Once in a very great while, this CKDer gives in to those cravings.  (I’m still human, you know.)

And then I pay for it.  My stomach hurts and I need to stay close to what is euphemistically called a restroom in Arizona.

That got me to thinking: what was I doing to my kidneys by giving in to these cravings, even if it were once in a great while?  So I researched it, but first I gathered all the information I already had at my fingertips.

My starting place? What Is It And How Did I Get It? Early Stage Chronic Kidney Disease, of course.  It’s not just a reference for readers, but for me too.sweets

Bingo! On page 32 (Digital readers, the page numbers will not be helpful to you.  Search for the terms, instead), I found an explanation of the A1C:

“This measures how well your blood sugar has been regulated for the two or three months before the test.  That’s possible because the glucose adheres to the red blood cells.”

So what is glucose and why am I including it in a discussion of sugar and the kidneys, you ask?  Turn to page 132 which is part of the glossary.  Here, glucose is defined as:

“The main sugar found in the blood.  In diabetes, the body doesn’t adequately control natural and ingested sugar.”

Aha!  So glucose IS a sugar and it has something to do with diabetes.

Diabetes?  Back to the A1C. You’ve heard me be concerned about my A1C for years.  That’s because below 5.7 is a normal reading.  Above 6.5 is diabetes.  Anything in-between is pre-diabetes.  Guess what my results have been since I’ve been tested for this. Oh, pre-diabetes, you follow me around like a puppy.

Location of KidneysSo why should I be so concerned?  What was happening to my kidneys?

I do remember reading that too much sugar can damage the linings of your blood vessels. This is something you want to avoid when you’re already having problems with your kidneys.  The blood vessels carry your blood throughout your body, even if your impaired kidneys have not properly cleaned the blood.

The National Institutes of Health are really good about keeping information reader friendly and allowing the reproduction of their material.  This simple explanation of what diabetes can do to your kidneys clarified the issue for me and, hopefully, will do the same for you:

“High blood glucose and high blood pressure damage the kidneys’ filters. When the kidneys are damaged, proteins leak out of the kidneys into the urine. The urinary albumin test detects this loss of protein in the urine. Damaged kidneys do not do a good job of filtering out wastes and extra fluid. Wastes and fluid build up in your blood instead of leaving the body in urine.

Healthy%20KidneyUnhealthy%20KidneyNo albumin, a protein, is leaking from the healthy kidney in the top drawing.

Albumin, a protein, is leaking from the unhealthy kidney in the bottom drawing.

You can find even more information at:

In case you’ve forgotten what albumin is, see page 129 in the glossary of What Is It And How Did I Get It? Early Stage Chronic Kidney Disease:

“Albumin: Water soluble protein in the blood.”

This blog is turning into an ode to the book rather than a discussion of the effects of too much sugar on the kidneys of a CKDer! I’ll stop that right now, folks.Book Cover

While too much blood glucose can cause the diabetes which may cause Chronic Kidney Disease, the reverse is true, too.  CKD can have an effect on your diabetes.  If the kidneys are already compromised as far as the part of their job that deals with filtering the blood and now your blood vessel linings are damaged, your body is simply not functioning as it was meant to.

What else can too much sugar do to your body?  According to The Salt at NPR ( it may be affecting your memory more as you age. Agnes Floel of Charite University Medicine in Berlin, the author of a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine last year says,

“It’s possible that blood vessel effects can damage memory. Elevated blood sugar levels damage small and large vessels in the brain, leading to decreased blood and nutrient flow to brain cells….”

And then there’s sleep apnea. According to a recent EurekAlert at,

brain“Sleep apnoea has been linked with elevated blood sugar levels, suggesting people with the condition could be at an increased risk of cardiovascular illness and mortality.

The findings of a new study, published online today (3 April 2014) in the European Respiratory Journal, add to a growing body of evidence that suggests that sleep apnoea is linked with diabetes.”

And heart disease!  Let’s not forget heart disease! According to MedpageToday at,

“People who had excessive amounts of added sugar in their diet carried greater risks of dying from cardiovascular disease (CVD), researchers found.”

The researchers in this case are Quanhe Yang, PhD, of the CDC’s Division for Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention in Atlanta, and her colleagues.

This one’s for women in my age group:

“The most common type of endometrial cancer occurred almost 80% more often in postmenopausal women who regularly consumed sugar-sweetened drinks as compared with women who consumed none, a study found.”

This is another Medpage article that you can find at:

I think I just may have frightened myself enough not to succumb to those sweet cravings.  But wait!  Carbohydrates also play a part in diabetes. Oh, but that’s a blog for another day.

New information: Not only is SlowItDown in Washington, D.C. (Georgetown and K St. NW), but also in southern Maryland… Lanham, Beltsville, Clinton, White Plains.  You know classes can be scheduled in other areas, too.  Call us!  We’re starting to feel like the Maytag repairman!!!!SlowItDown business card

Until next week,

Keep living your life.

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