Blog Entries With Tag: kidneys

Posted: Aug 31, 2014

Vegetables on forks

The other day, an American Type 1 diabetic on Facebook wrote to me asking if I could help them in finding more information for a low potassium diet and recipes to go with the foods they’re allowed to eat.  They’d seen their kidney specialist and told to go this route.  What really got to me was when I asked if they were going to see a dietician or at least a nutritionist was that they'd received a paper – with what they could eat / not eat.  That was it!  

Not that I’m an expert, but I sent them some links from the National Kidney Foundation that at least explains more than what their doctor had given them.

I managed to link them up within a few hours with another Canadian diabetic mate of mine, who has been on a low potassium diet for a decade, and hopefully that will help.  It really amazes me how these days, we often have to go this route, not via our medical system.  What really surprised me more with my American friend was that his health care insurance doesn’t cover for a dietician / nutritionist (they are covered though for an insulin pump/CGMS pump).  It's like, WTF, won't more cost be involved from the insurance company if the person has kidney failure?  Urrhhhh. 

I’m sorry, but as Canadian, who may pay higher taxes, may have bit of wait time to see doctors/surgery at times compared to the USA.   I know that the province I live in (Quebec), I can make an appointment, upon the recommendation of my doctor, to see a dietician.  I had to at one point, when I needed some help with losing weight (still am trying to shed – that’s a never ending story).  The main thing, I can go to local government run clinic or hospital, and get the help I need.  If I have work insurance coverage, often to see someone FAST, the most you'll pay out of pocket is 20% for that faster service.   Either way, n-between the wait time, I do my own research, and of course, don’t leap to any conclusions due to … not everything you see online is the gospel truth!

Of course, no health care system, whether public like Canada's is or in the USA is perfect.  Actually, no health care system world wide is perfect … people gripe about paying more taxes to fund them, but you always hope that that extra you are giving to the government isn’t being used for admin and other nonmedical needs.  

Take for instance, my recent PAP smear test - to be analysed in Quebec system, takes 6 months.  Other provinces are 1-2 weeks.  The reason for wait time in my province?  Smaller population, less tax dollars going into the medical system.  Of course, healthy individuals that don't use the health system, would get upset to fund the kitty with extra tax dollars, but that's the way our system works, and usually for the better.

Anyway, before I rant more about health care - and make this an epic blog that it wasn't supposed to be - on closing words - check out this latest report from the nonpartisan health organization, the Commonwealth Fund  … this will get you debating together at the dinner table, if it doesn't get you commenting here on my post!

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Posted: Apr 18, 2012
My endo many years ago in my 30's started insisting that I take blood pressure (BP) medication because one BP reading in his office showed that up abit high (I have the white coat syndrome ).  They had also said that by taking these meds that it would help curb any problems with my kidneys.

According to a diabetic friend of mine - who is like me - not medically educated but is a long term diabetic like myself - often tells other diabetics that they mentor that they don't need to take these meds for preservation of their kidney.   Supposably after "x" years (can't remember the number) - if no kidney problems are showing - that you don't need to be on these meds.  I am always hoping that those folks that receive that advice do go and seek a second opinion from someone who is knowledgable in this field - but still it does make me wonder after just having gone through the past few months - not been taking my blood pressure pills.  Actually - in the past - I often forget to take them as I'm bad at remembering to take pills - it's hit and miss - but insulin I take religiously!!

I've been testing my BP in the comfort of my home, which I am sure helps in the reading.  Today it was 110/60, and my readings tend to fall in this area or less.  I actually found when taking the medication I was even lower - but didn't feel any different then I do at my usual readings - e.g. no low blood pressure symptoms.

I'm going to ask my endo about my little experiment I've been doing next time I see them (in July) - and see if they agree with what my friend had told me - about not taking BP meds.

Here are some tips from a video here at - it's aimed more at Type 2 diabetics I find - but can be applied to not just diabetics but EVERYONE - diabetic or not!  I do find the recommended reading of 130/80 to be abit high for diabetics - but I guess it's a number that doctors feel safe with having their patients attain if they are already suffering from higher numbers.  A patient has to start somewhere - and try to improve afterwards (e.g. reducing salt in diet, stopping smoking, etc.).  The Canadian Diabetes Association also has an excellent article online that you can also read about attaining a healthy blood pressure.

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Blog: Sharings

Posted: Jan 30, 2008

I'm delighted to see this blog site, having been a primary care provider for many years. I think it will be great to have a site where people can share their experiences - both providers and patients.This will also aid in the education of both patients and providers and that way really empower the patient to really take control of their problem.

It's hard to know where to start but perhaps it's best to start with sharing information on what appropriate ongoing care for managing diabetes looks like. This is not the final word on managing diabetes but it's a good place to start your learning. Since managing diabetes is a life-long endeavor, it is important to develop a good interactive relationship with your primary care provider. This is the provider who is aware of your personal medical and family history which will allow for better optimization of your diabetes care plan.

Here are some guidelines to consider:

As well as having a comprehensive history and physical on record you want to consider counseling on overall diabetic management and nutrition. Your doctor can make recommendations on how to find these resources.

There are a number of evaluations you should keep in mind for your routine management. These include:

Monitoring of hemoglobin A1c (glycohemoglobin) and blood pressure - 2 to 4 times per year

Initial evaluation, monitoring, and treatment (if necessary) of:

  • cholesterol profile - yearly
  • kidney health - yearly
  • eye health - yearly
  • skin and feet health - yearly
  • Additional concerns would include:
  • Flu vaccine - yearly

Pneumococcal vaccination - per primary care provider's recommendation

Finger stick or self-monitoring of blood glucose - frequency determined in conversations with your primary care provider

You should discuss with your primary care provider if you should be considered for aspirin therapy on a routine basis.

I look forward to sharing additional thoughts on these topics and others in upcoming blogs.

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