Is it Blood Sugar or the Pancreas?

We all know diabetes raises your risk of developing Chronic Kidney Disease. But why? What’s the mechanism behind the fact? As far as I’m concerned, it’s time to find out.

Let’s start with diabetes. The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK), part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), which in turn is part of The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services at offers this explanation.

“Diabetes is a disease that occurs when your blood glucose, also called blood sugar, is too high. Blood glucose is your main source of energy and comes from the food you eat. Insulin, a hormone made by the pancreas, helps glucose from food get into your cells to be used for energy. Sometimes your body doesn’t make enough—or any—insulin or doesn’t use insulin well. Glucose then stays in your blood and doesn’t reach your cells.

Over time, having too much glucose in your blood can cause health problems. Although diabetes has no cure, you can take steps to manage your diabetes and stay healthy.

Sometimes people call diabetes ‘a touch of sugar’ or ‘borderline diabetes.’”

Having just had a tumor removed from my pancreas, I’m well aware that it produces insulin as well as digestive enzymes. Without a pancreas to produce insulin, you would need insulin injections several times a day.

I got what diabetes is, but how it causes CKD was still not clear.

Well, not until I read the following from The American Diabetes Association at

“When our bodies digest the protein we eat, the process creates waste products. In the kidneys, millions of tiny blood vessels (capillaries) with even tinier holes in them act as filters. As blood flows through the blood vessels, small molecules such as waste products squeeze through the holes. These waste products become part of the urine. Useful substances, such as protein and red blood cells, are too big to pass through the holes in the filter and stay in the blood.

Diabetes can damage this system. High levels of blood sugar make the kidneys filter too much blood. All this extra work is hard on the filters. After many years, they start to leak and useful protein is lost in the urine. Having small amounts of protein in the urine is called microalbuminuria.

When kidney disease is diagnosed early, during microalbuminuria, several treatments may keep kidney disease from getting worse. Having larger amounts of protein in the urine is called macroalbuminuria. When kidney disease is caught later during macroalbuminuria, end-stage renal disease, or ESRD, usually follows.

In time, the stress of overwork causes the kidneys to lose their filtering ability. Waste products then start to build up in the blood. Finally, the kidneys fail. This failure, ESRD, is very serious. A person with ESRD needs to have a kidney transplant or to have the blood filtered by machine (dialysis).”

Hmmm, now that we know what diabetes is and how it can cause CKD, maybe we need to look at ways to attempt to avoid diabetes.

  • Losing weight and keeping it off. Weight control is an important part of diabetes prevention. You may be able to prevent or delay diabetes by losing 5 to 10 percent of your current weight. For example, if you weigh 200 pounds, your goal would be to lose between 10 to 20 pounds. And once you lose the weight, it is important that you don’t gain it back.
  • Following a healthy eating plan. It is important to reduce the amount of calories you eat and drink each day, so you can lose weight and keep it off. To do that, your diet should include smaller portions and less fat and sugar. You should also eat a variety of foods from each food group, including plenty of whole grains, fruits, and vegetables. It’s also a good idea to limit red meat, and avoid processed meats.
  • Get regular exercise. Exercise has many health benefits, including helping you to lose weight and lower your blood sugar levels. These both lower your risk of type 2 diabetes. Try to get at least 30 minutes of physical activity 5 days a week. If you have not been active, talk with your health care professional to figure out which types of exercise are best for you. You can start slowly and work up to your goal.
  • Don’t smoke. Smoking can contribute to insulin resistance, which can lead to type 2 diabetes. If you already smoke, try to quit.
  • Talk to your health care provider to see whether there is anything else you can do to delay or to prevent type 2 diabetes. If you are at high risk, your provider may suggest that you take one of a few types of diabetes medicines.”

This is a list from NIH: National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases posted on MedLinePlus at Notice it’s mentioned that this is for type 2 diabetes.

There are 11 different kinds of diabetes. Types 1 and 2 are the most common. WebMD at explains what type 1 and 2 are.

Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune condition. It’s caused by the body attacking its own pancreas with antibodies. In people with type 1 diabetes, the damaged pancreas doesn’t make insulin…. With Type 2 diabetes, the pancreas usually produces some insulin. But either the amount produced is not enough for the body’s needs, or the body’s cells are resistant to it. Insulin resistance, or lack of sensitivity to insulin, happens primarily in fat, liver, and muscle cells.”

This is all starting to make sense.

Until next week,

Keep living your life!

Validation That It Is The Most Important Meal Of The Day

I hope all the mothers out there had as good a Mother’s Day as I did. I was lucky enough to have two of our daughters here for an impromptu luncheon.  While Nima was in New York and Abby assisting at a Landmark Advanced Course, Lara and Kelly each managed to have the day off and be here. Flowers abounded as did love and lots of good feelings. Everyone enjoyed the meal, renal diet cooking or not (hey!  I was the cook).

I’m laughing out loud right now (remember LOL?).  No sooner did I include the book’s Amazon reviews in the last blog than I started getting requests for the Barnes and Noble reviews.  Amazing how people seem to root for one bookstore or the other, almost as if they were football teams.  So, to be fair, here they are:

 Well written and very informative! This book includes tons of definitions

Well written and very informative! This book includes tons of definitions and images and would be helpful for anyone looking to learn more about kidney disease. Gail’s perspective is real (even funny at points) and I think anyone dealing with CKD will definitely be able to relate with her stories. This book is beneficial for anyone going through CKD, caregivers, and medical professionals.

Highly Recommended! Very useful

This book is wonderful because it explains all you need to know for early stages of ckd and not in medical terms, but in terms that everyone can understand. The author was so passionate about getting the information to others who are going through what she went through as this information was not available to her. Her altruistic motive for this book is also what makes it wonderful. I would definitely buy a copy if I were you.

Must Read For Any CKD, or possible CKD patient, family member, friend

This book gives great insight and an in-depth look into CKD. What to expect, what to look for, not just as a patient but for those that are in the patient’s life as well. Diet, exercise, nutrition, supplements, etc. is all touched on in this book. If you are a newly diagnosed CKD patient, already a CKD patient, or a family/friend of a CKD patient…you will want this book to give you a better piece of mind of what you’re dealing with and how to make your life a little easier at the same time.

Her blog is also a great resource to use daily too. I wish I had known about this book when my mom was going through CKD before her transplant, it would have helped us better understand everything that was happening, was going to happen, and terminology that the doctors used. A must read!

This is an incredibly well-researched, well-written book written by a woman who herself developed kidney disease. Her book provides clear and comprehensive information for all about the care patients need to have, and responds to the fears and concerns of all involved with coping with kidney disease. It is an honest, very personal accounting of her experience, and I found it to be written clearly, providing tons of pertinent information about every facet of how to cope with this illness.

I think Ms. Rae wrote this book for the ordinary person who learns that they will be living with kidney disease from the moment of diagnosis, on. But after reading, I believe that it is also a book that every family member, every friend of someone who has developed kidney disease ought to read as well, in order to better understand what their loved ones are going through. I also believe that this book will benefit every professional in the medical community who deals with patients coping with Kidney Disease. It has helped me better understand my friend and her struggles with this disease, and will help everyone who is involved with a patient on any level to be better able to understand their concerns, anxieties, needs and limitations. For these reasons I think it is a great guide for the medical community as well as for the patient/family/friends, as it can help all understand the kind of information patients need to have in order to take good care of themselves. Don’t pass this book up!

 Highly Recommend For Recent CKD Diagnosis

IF you have recently been diagnosed with Chronic Kidney Disease this book should be your next purchase. Gail Rae shares her personal experiences with the disease, lists of foods which have become part of her diet, how to decipher your medical records, questions to ask your doctors, and what she has learned about living with CKD.

Naturally, reviews are  not the purpose of this blog. Let’s talk about breakfast, instead.  You know Mom always used to say (well, my mom didn’t but the ads on Saturday morning cartoons did), “Breakfast is the most important meal of the day.”  And you know diabetes is one of the two (the other is high blood pressure) most common causes of Chronic Kidney Disease.  Here’s some information that ties breakfast and Type 2 diabetes together. Since this may be new information to some of you, I’ve left in all the hyperlinks for a change.

Really? To Lower Your Risk of Diabetes, Eat Breakfast

By ANAHAD O’CONNOR April 30, 2012


The benefits of eating a solid breakfast are hard to dispute.

People who skip that all-important first meal of the day, studies show, suffer setbacks in mood, memory and energy levels. They are also more likely to gain weight, in part because of excess eating later in the day. Research on the habits of people taking part in the National Weight Control Registry, a long-running study of successful dieters, for example, shows that about 80 percent eat breakfast daily.

But emerging research suggests another advantage to consistently eating breakfast: a reduced risk of Type 2 diabetes.

In a study published in the current issue of The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, researchers followed 29,000 men for 16 years, tracking their diets, exercise, disease rates and other markers of health. About 2,000 of the men developed Type 2 diabetes over the course of the study.

Those who regularly skipped breakfast had a 21 percent higher risk of developing diabetes than those who did not. The heightened risk remained even after the researchers accounted for body mass index and the quality of the subjects’ breakfasts.

Other studies have also found a link between skipping breakfast and greater risk of Type 2 diabetes. While it is not clear why the relationship exists, some scientists suspect that a morning meal helps stabilize blood sugar through the day.

Some studies show that consuming a larger proportion of your calories later in the day, especially carbohydrates, has a detrimental impact on blood sugar and insulin levels.


Regularly skipping breakfast may raise the risk of Type 2 diabetes.

If you’d like to see the original, it’s at:

Did I eat breakfast or didn’t I?  Hmmm, excuse me, I’ve got to go take Anahad’s sound advice.

Until next week,

Keep living your life!

p.s.  Unfortunately,  I STILL haven’t heard from the medical alert bracelet people yet about why they didn’t warn me the bracelet may fall apart if submerged repeatedly (it hasn’t yet) until the bracelet  arrived in the mail so I’ve got to rescind my recommendation for  They may have other medical alert bracelets that do not require you remove them before you shower, bathe, or swim but I would not be willing to order another one only to have it arrived with the same warning.