High blood pressure drug may protect kidneys from damage in diabetes

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People with diabetes often have problems with their kidneys. About 40% of people with diabetes get a disease called diabetic kidney disease.

In the UK alone, almost 5 million people have diabetes. These people are four times more likely to need serious treatments like dialysis or a kidney transplant.

Current Treatment

There’s a drug called spironolactone that doctors use to treat high blood pressure. This drug also seems to help people with diabetic kidney disease.

It can stop proteins from leaking into the urine, which is a good thing. But, there’s a problem.

Spironolactone can cause other health issues like high potassium levels in the blood. Because of these side effects, doctors are often hesitant to use it.

A New Study

Researchers from the University of Bristol in the UK decided to look more closely at spironolactone. They wanted to figure out how this drug protects the kidneys.

They found out that it helps to keep a layer on the surface of blood vessels in the kidneys safe. This layer is called the glycocalyx. It’s a bit like a gel and it’s very important for the health of our kidneys.

To study this, the researchers took samples from the patient kidneys. They found a new way to measure any changes in the depth of the glycocalyx layer.

This method confirmed two things. First, diabetes can harm the glycocalyx layer. Second, spironolactone can prevent this damage.

A Surprise Finding

The team also found something interesting. Spironolactone can slow down a group of enzymes called matrix metalloproteases. These enzymes can damage the glycocalyx layer.

By slowing them down, spironolactone helps to keep the glycocalyx layer healthy, preventing kidney disease from getting worse.

What’s Next?

The researchers now want to explore other drugs that can also slow down the matrix metalloproteases enzymes.

They hope that these drugs might help people with kidney disease, but without the side effects of spironolactone. This could mean better treatments for people with diabetic kidney disease.

Taking Care of Your Kidneys

If you have diabetes, you can take steps to keep your kidneys healthy:

  • Keep your blood sugar levels in check. High blood sugar can hurt your kidneys.
  • Manage your blood pressure. It should be at or below 130/80 mm Hg.
  • Eat healthily. Lots of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins are good. Try to avoid too much salt and saturated fats.
  • Exercise often. Aim for at least 30 minutes on most days.
  • Don’t smoke. It can damage your blood vessels and increase your risk of kidney disease.
  • Take your medications as directed by your doctor.
  • Get regular tests to check your kidney function.

This research is a big step forward. It brings hope for new and better treatments for diabetic kidney disease.

If you care about high blood pressure, please read studies about how fasting may help reverse high blood pressure, and this olive oil could reduce blood pressure in healthy people.

For more information about blood pressure health, please read studies that cherry concentrate could lower blood pressure as much as drugs, and 3 grams of omega-3s a day keep high blood pressure at bay.

This study was done by Dr. Matthew Butler and others, and it was published in JCI Insight.

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