Diabetes is a condition when the blood sugar levels in the blood are much higher than normal. There are two types of diabetes, Type -1 and Type -2. Type – 1 diabetes is less common compared to Type -2 and it refers to a condition where their insulin-producing cells are destroyed by the immune system (an autoimmune condition). Whereas Type-2 diabetes is a condition where insulin is already present in the body but the body cells are not able to utilize it to absorb the sugar present in the blood.
Research studies have shown that people suffering from Type-2 diabetes are at higher risk of developing kidney stones. Also, some other researchers suggest that the presence of higher insulin levels (including the artificial hormone taken) increases the chances of kidney stone formation.
The link between high blood sugar levels and kidney stones
Kidney stones are usually formed when there are higher levels of certain minerals in the body that are expelled through urine. When the urine contains more calcium oxalate or uric acid, corresponding kidney stones are formed. The minerals present in the urine, when not diluted with enough water, they tend to form crystalline compounds that continue to grow over a period of time if not expelled by the body.
Insulin resistance (in Type -2 diabetics) and the addition of artificial insulin can increase the total insulin present in the blood and can lead to decreasing the pH of the urine, making it more acidic. When the urine becomes more acidic, the chances of uric acid stone formation go up.
Other factors that can help in the formation or recurrence of kidney stones:
- Being obese or overweight
- Diet high in animal proteins, processed sugar, or salt
- Family and personal history of kidney stones
- Intestinal surgery
- Medications are taken to treat other medical conditions.
Symptoms of kidney stones
- Pain and burning sensation when passing urine
- Blood in urine
- Severe pain in the back and the pain may not be concentrated in a single place. The location changes with the movement of the stone from the kidneys to the urethra.
- Nausea and vomiting.
As long as the kidney stones are small and diagnosed, it is easier to get them out by taking prescribed medicines and by drinking a good amount of water and fluids. As the size of the kidney stones grows, they can cause severe pain and block urine to flow from the kidneys into the bladder.
Preventing the formation of kidney stones
- If you are diagnosed with kidney stones and are suffering from diabetes, the first thing you need to work on is by having diabetes under control. Changing food habits (that doesn’t include processed sugars and with a low glycemic index), working out regularly, spending a good time in Sunlight every day, adding more fresh vegetables and fruits to your daily diet can take you a long way in avoiding kidney stone formation.
- Drink plenty of water. We can’t stress this enough, drinking enough water every day can help in avoiding a ton of diseases, and avoiding kidney stones is one of them.
- Exercise regularly. Along with increased consumption of water, working out regularly and maintaining optimal body weight reduces the risk of developing or recurrence of kidney stones.
- Include a lot of fiber, fruits, and vegetables in your diet. Avoid animal protein as much as possible. When you need to eat, eat a very little quantity of meat. Consuming more animal protein can make the urine acidic and result in the formation of uric acid stones.
Type-2 diabetes can be reversed with proper lifestyle changes, diet changes, and adding workouts to your daily routine. Keeping type-2 diabetes under control can also avoid damage to blood vessels along with reducing the risk of formation of kidney stones.