Kidney damage brought on by high levels of blood glucose associated with prediabetes may begin much earlier than previously thought, a new study in Norway revealed.

Experts discovered that significantly higher-than-normal levels of blood sugar increase the risks for kidney abnormalities that could eventually result to kidney failure.

Dr. Toralf Melsom of the University Hospital of North Norway said their research showed that the biochemical process of kidney damage caused by high levels of blood glucose starts well before the beginning of diabetes.

In a study featured in the American Journal of Kidney Diseases, Melsom and his colleagues examined data containing records of 1,300 patients who were 50 to 62 years old. These patients were followed for an average of 5.6 years. Of the patients, 595 had prediabetes during the start of the study.

Prediabetes affects about 35 percent of adults, which is a number twice as many as that of diabetes. Half of these patients or about 45 percent with prediabetes eventually develop diabetes within 10 years. Researchers said diabetes is the principal cause of kidney disease and renal failure.

The group took into account several lifestyle factors and medications, and found that those with prediabetes had early signs of kidney damage: high levels of albumin in their urine and hyperfiltration in the kidneys. Problems arise when the body responds to metabolic changes that happen early due to constantly high levels of blood glucose.

Early Intervention Is Key

To prevent kidney diseases caused by hyperglycemia, Melsom said prediabetes should be a target for early intervention. He said patients with borderline levels of blood glucose should change their lifestyle with respect to physical activity and diet to prevent the development of kidney diseases and diabetes, all with the advice of their doctor.

Past studies have attempted to find a link between kidney damage and prediabetes, but Melsom and his team said they used a precise method to determine the condition of the kidneys.

"It is estimated that more than 470 million people will have prediabetes by 2030," said National Kidney Foundation President Dr. Jeffrey Bern.

Bern said studies like the one above are important because it can help identify those with prediabetes and conduct early interventions such as lifestyle changes and physician management. If successful, it can potentially reduce kidney damage cases.

Tips To Improve Your Blood Sugar Control

Normal levels of blood glucose can save you from an early death. Tight control can slow or prevent the development of many complications caused by diabetes. Here are several tips for you to improve your blood sugar control.

1. Measure your blood sugar levels regularly.

Before you get into tight control, you must be used to checking your blood sugar levels daily. Start gradually by checking it a few times per day. Once you're used to it, you must make changes in your diet.

2. Pay attention to your eating habits.

Skipping meals could increase the chances for higher blood sugar levels. When you don't eat for hours, your body uses glucose from the liver. For people with Type 2 diabetes, however, the body does not sense when the amount of glucose is enough, so it releases more. Eating foods with carbohydrates can signal the liver to stop releasing glucose into the bloodstream and lower the levels of blood sugar.

3. Talk to your doctor about alcohol consumption.

Alcohol may reduce levels of blood glucose, but it is not considered a safe or effective method because it interferes with the liver's function to raise blood glucose. This is important if a person takes medication that lowers blood glucose, as these medications can cause hypoglycemia. When alcohol is thrown into the mix with high-carb foods, blood sugar levels will rise, but will drop afterwards. It is erratic.

4. Replace sugary drinks with green tea.

Studies suggest that drinking green tea can help prevent the development of Type 2 diabetes, and improve insulin sensitivity, but do not completely rely on it to lower your blood sugar. Green tea can also cut calories, save carbs and give polyphenols.

5. Have enough sleep and get proper exercise.

Believe it or not, there is a link between proper amounts of sleep and a person's metabolism. Most of the important bacteria that regulate our metabolism are produced when we are asleep. Sleep deprivation can even decrease insulin sensitivity by 25 percent. You must also exercise regularly, as inactivity lowers the quality of sleep.

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