"This analysis shows that having a high creatinine level is a very high marker for mortality," said Dr. Joel Zonszein, director of the clinical diabetes center at Montefiore Medical Center in New York City.
Creatinine levels indicate the health of your kidneys. The higher this level is, the less effectively your kidneys are working.
Both experts said it's important to try to prevent kidney damage, because the more it progresses, the harder it becomes to control.
Controlling blood sugar and blood pressure levels are essential to keeping the kidneys healthy, Zonszein said.
"I see much less progression to late-stage kidney disease in patients who are treated aggressively for high blood pressure, especially with ACE inhibitors or ARBs. Patients need to get the proper amounts of these medications to bring their blood pressure to normal," he said.
ACE inhibitors and ARBs are two different types of blood-pressure lowering medications.
"We really can slow the progress of kidney disease, but we have to treat patients correctly early in the disease," Zonszein said.
Fonseca agreed. "Do everything you can to prevent late-stage kidney disease. Get good control of your blood pressure and good control of your diabetes. Make sure you have screening for kidney problems," Fonseca said.
Both also agreed that once late-stage kidney disease has set in, it becomes much harder to control blood pressure and other complications. "This group is a huge challenge and we haven't really found the answers yet. We need new therapies for this particular patient population," Fonseca said.
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