What is the second deadliest disease in South Africa? According to the 2021 report on mortality and causes of death by Statistics South Africa, it’s diabetes.(1)
With an estimated 4.6 million adults with diabetes (half of whom remain undiagnosed)2;3, SA has one of the highest prevalence rates of diabetes in sub-Saharan Africa. This ‘lifestyle’ disease has killed more South Africans than HIV, hypertension, and other forms of heart disease combined.
It’s also a major cause of poor quality of life, blindness, cardiovascular disease, stroke, and lower limb amputation.
And kidney failure.
Kidney damage can begin 10 to 15 years after diabetes starts. As the damage progresses, the kidneys’ ability to clean the blood deteriorates, resulting in chronic kidney disease (CKD). If the damage becomes severe enough the kidneys can stop working, which is kidney failure.
CKD is often not detectable until there’s significant damage, and it cannot be reversed. There are 5 stages of CKD: Stage 1 is still when an individual has normal or high functioning kidneys operating at 90%+ capacity. Stages 2 – 4 occur when kidney function progressively declines from 89% function right down to 15% function, and stage 5 is full blown kidney failure. At this point dialysis or transplant are the only available options.
From stages 2 – 4, the medical profession has frustratingly little with which to treat or slow the deterioration of the kidneys. They can simply manage the associated symptoms, such as diuretics to relieve fluid retention. But think about it, a diuretic forces the already compromised kidneys to work harder to excrete more fluid, thus potentially hastening the disease’s progression.
Support the kidneys from the day of diagnosis
Therefore, it is extremely important that diabetics pay strong attention to supporting their kidneys from the time they are diagnosed.
In addition to tightly managing their blood sugar levels, strategies include:
- Having annual kidney function tests, because the earlier damage is detected, the greater the opportunity to prevent it from worsening.
- Eating a healthy diet with much less protein, reducing salt intake, and also reducing alcohol.
- Drinking at least 2 litres of filtered water daily.
- Exercising regularly, staying within or getting to a healthy weight, and controlling blood pressure.
- Avoiding regular use of aspirin and anti-inflammatories and other pain relievers which can worsen kidney damage.
Natural medicines may also offer some valuable add-on support for CKD. One such product is A.Vogel Nephrosolid. Made from a combination of four fresh organically grown herbs namely solidago (Solidago virgaurea), birch (Betula pendula), restharrow (Ononis spinosa) and horsetail (Equisetum arvense), Nephrosolid is a tonic that supports the function and health of the kidneys, bladder, and urinary tract.
A key benefit to diabetics may lie in the anti-inflammatory and antiseptic properties of Nephrosolid and the products ability to help remove grit from the kidneys.
High levels of chronic systemic inflammation are harmful to the kidneys. One of the underlying drivers of inflammation are small proteins released by immune cells known as proinflammatory cytokines, these cytokines have been linked to the onset of CKD.4 With these proinflammatory cytokines in the blood frequently passing through the kidneys, inflammation is triggered in the tiny filters, which in turn may increase the scarring and thickening of the lining of the vessels in the kidneys. It’s this thickening which impedes the ability of the filters to remove wastes and toxins from the blood. By introducing Nephrosolid as a daily adjunctive therapy for diabetics, the long-term support of solidago may help to lower inflammation rates within the kidneys, assisting to maintain kidney function.
Another benefit for diabetics diagnosed as being in the early stages of CKD is that Nephrosolid helps to treat mild fluid retention, whilst simultaneously supporting kidney function.
In addition, this group can often be prone to bladder infections which quickly progress back up to the kidneys. Nephrosolid is also a helpful treatment for the symptoms of kidney and urinary tract infection and inflammation, as well as helping to prevent infections.
- Statistics South Africa. Statistical Release P0309.3. Mortality and causes of death in South Africa: Findings from death notification 2017. [cited 2020 Oct 13]. http://www.statssa.gov.za/publications/P03093/P030932017.pdf. [Google Scholar]
- International Diabetes Federation. IDF diabetes atlas. 9th ed. Brussels: International Diabetes Federation; 2019 [cited 2020 Feb 14]. Available from: http://www.diabetesatlas.org [Google Scholar]
- The Society for Endocrinology, Metabolism and Diabetes of South Africa Type 2 Diabetes Guidelines Expert Committee. Epidemiology of type 2 diabetes. In 2017 SEMDSA guideline for the management of type 2 diabetes guideline committee. JEMDSA. 2017;21(1)(Supplement 1):S1–S196. [Google Scholar]