By in Personal

Routine Doctor Visit: Not So Routine Results

It was time to choose a new primary care physician, both because my current physician was a 45-minute drive and would not be "in network" with my health insurance PPO after the first of the year. I chose an internal medicine practitioner, a woman who is establishing her practice -- and less than a mile from home.

Lab work was the first order of the day, something my previous physician had not been diligent about. I had a follow-up appointment with the doctor to discuss the test results.

I expected to be told that my lipid levels were high, and they were -- much higher than I anticipated. That news was surprising and somewhat distressing, but not as much as the information that followed: My kidney function is at less than 60 percent!

I was flabbergasted to put it mildly. Never before had anyone shared with me that my kidney function was anything less than normal. With diagnoses of both hypertension and type 2 diabetes, more regular blood testing should have been done in the past.

Next the doctor shared with me that should it turn out to be the medicine I take to control my blood sugar be determined to be the culprit, I would need to stop taking it and use insulin.

I've been spending many hours since then -- once the shock of the information subsided a bit -- to learn more about kidney function and my conditions. I realize in the large scheme of things, my problems are small, but for me, it as taken a lot to come to grips with this news.

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Image Credit » Darko Stojanovic Public Domain/CC0 1.0 License via Pixabay

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VinceSummers wrote on December 23, 2014, 10:54 AM

You're clearly a smart woman. If it is true about the kidneys take serious, serious heed. Lose the kidneys and you are on dialysis. Go on dialysis, and you have a limited amount of time. Go for it, Lady! We need you here.

Ellis wrote on December 23, 2014, 11:12 AM

Not the best time of year to hear news like this...hope you can get it under control..

Feisty56 wrote on December 23, 2014, 11:44 AM

I am taking this most seriously. I've had additional conversations with my doctor, getting answers to multiple questions I had. So far, so good. I will have blood tests in three months. Depending on the outcome, I may request a referral to a nephrologist.

Feisty56 wrote on December 23, 2014, 11:47 AM

Thanks, Ellis. Lots of lifestyle changes are already underway in hopes of getting my health closer to where it ought to be.

Ellis wrote on December 23, 2014, 11:52 AM

Any closer getting my health to where it ought to be and I'd be in a box by

Feisty56 wrote on December 23, 2014, 11:55 AM

Thanks for the smiles. : ) Merry Christmas to you and the missus.

OldRoadsOnceTraveled wrote on December 23, 2014, 11:56 AM

If it is the medicine and you stop taking it, will the problem get better? I certainly hope so. Perhaps with more oversight from the new doctor, your diabetes and hypertension can be brought under more control and that might help. I hope everything goes well.

Cinna wrote on December 23, 2014, 12:25 PM

That is scary! At least you get regular medical care so it was caught early and you can keep it monitored well now.

MegL wrote on December 23, 2014, 1:41 PM

Distressing news. I don't know if you will be able to access this link, it MAY be UK only. If not, let me know and I will get the article from another source for you.
Kidney function CAN be improved. My brother had VERY low kidney function because of a medication he was taking. When he stopped it, and with some careful monitoring by the hospital, his kidney function returned to normal.

maxeen wrote on December 23, 2014, 2:09 PM

Hope you can improve by leaving that medicine alone ,this Woman Doctor sounds sensible,take care.

celticeagle wrote on December 23, 2014, 2:25 PM

Wow! That nothing fun to hear. There are ways to improve at least some of these. I know when I learned of mine I was in shock as well. Doing research and all helped me a lot.

Katherina201 wrote on December 23, 2014, 3:58 PM

Hopefully it might just be a temporary situation. My Mom had a complete shutdown of her kidneys for a while and was put on dialysis. She is now off dialysis but her function is a bit lower than yours. Maybe a change of meds would work. They did that with my husband and his type 2. Anyway, the best to you and I hope it works out well. The new doctor seem to be diligent. I'm on meds that require monitoring and it seems a blood test every year is all they will do.

Feisty56 wrote on December 23, 2014, 4:02 PM

My doctor seems to think the reduced kidney function is due to a long period of elevated blood sugars. The problem for me, though, is that she is basin this on only these one time lab results. To compound that, my blood sugar levels are normal now. Without previous lab work for comparison, there is no way to know for certain what the underlying factor(s) is.

Feisty56 wrote on December 23, 2014, 4:02 PM

Yes, that's true. I wonder how many people without healthcare have undiagnosed conditions.

Feisty56 wrote on December 23, 2014, 4:09 PM

Thanks for the link --interesting reading. : ) I appreciate, too, hearing that your brother went through a similar situation but experienced improvement. I will give this doctor the three months until my next lab work. If I don't feel comfortable with her decisions/plan at that time, I will have to look elsewhere.

Feisty56 wrote on December 23, 2014, 4:10 PM

I like this doctor as a person. She is a very by-the-book physician, something I respect. Thanks, hoping for good news ahead.

Feisty56 wrote on December 23, 2014, 4:13 PM

I think that doing the research helps, not only for the information we learn, but because it gives us a small measure of control over frightening conditions.

Feisty56 wrote on December 23, 2014, 4:16 PM

I'm glad your mother is doing better. What a relief it must have been for her to get off dialysis. I am amenable to a change of medications, but not immediately to insulin. I will do what I can with my lifestyle habits and see what the future holds.

AliCanary wrote on December 23, 2014, 4:25 PM

Oh my, this is certainly distressing. I am glad that you picked a doctor who takes more care to be thorough. Medications often do carry side effects, and the liver, pancreas and kidneys, being the body's filters, can catch the brunt. I hope there is something that can be done to keep you healthy--make sure to eat lots of veggies and drink lots of water!

melody23 wrote on December 23, 2014, 4:51 PM

That must have come as a shock! As I am sure you know, diabetes and kidney function are pretty closely linked, as is kidney function to high blood pressure. Perhaps that means that a change of medication might be all that you need to see improvement in all areas. I was born with issues with my kidneys so I know from experience that things can improve, I had lots of issues till my late teens but touch wood I have been fine for the last 8 or so years.

Kasman wrote on December 23, 2014, 5:14 PM

Scary! I know how you feel. I recently had a similar revelation from my doctor. Hope all goes well for you.

WordChazer wrote on December 23, 2014, 5:14 PM

I have been told my kidneys are pretty good at the moment, but I'm not sure how long that will be the case. That being so, you have my sympathies, and I hope you and your new doc can sort this out.

Feisty56 wrote on December 23, 2014, 6:24 PM

I had already begun to make some lifestyle changes, including eating healthier and going to the gym and then, wham! Thank you for your concern. Vegetables and I are getting to be better friends all the time.

Feisty56 wrote on December 23, 2014, 6:27 PM

I'm glad to hear your kidney problems of youth have improved. (Knocking wood here, too.)

I do know that both diabetes and high blood pressure can affect the kidneys, but no previous tests had shown any issues, so yes, this did come as a shock. I hope to lose enough weight to make both my blood pressure and type 2 diabetes non-issues.

Feisty56 wrote on December 23, 2014, 6:29 PM

Kasman, I'm sorry to hear that. I hope you and your doctor have a plan to turn things around.

Feisty56 wrote on December 23, 2014, 6:33 PM

I hope that your kidneys remain healthy. Merry Christmas to you : )

bestwriter wrote on December 23, 2014, 6:47 PM

These allopathy drugs I say. They are the culprit most times. Good you had a thorough examination. You now know how to go about it - diet being the main factor. High BP is the main symptom for kidney issues.

Feisty56 wrote on December 23, 2014, 8:20 PM

My blood pressure has been under control for a number of years, so I'm not convinced that is a contributing factor. Time will tell.

paigea wrote on December 24, 2014, 1:56 AM

Sorry to hear you have this new issue to deal with. I hope you can see improvement soon.

lookatdesktop wrote on December 24, 2014, 9:28 AM

Follow your doctor's advice and get better. There are a number of natural ways to help improve kidney function, but moreover keep your weight down and take your blood pressure medicine. Do some online research to find ways to help your kidney function improve.

melody23 wrote on December 24, 2014, 9:39 AM

I also plan to lose weight to improve my health in the new year. there is a long history of diabetes in my family so I am already high risk but add that to the weight I have put on since my accident I am almost certainly heading for diabetes. Strangely enough, my blood pressure is fine despite my risk factors for hypertension. with my limited diet it will be hard, but I have to take charge of my health.

Feisty56 wrote on December 24, 2014, 1:20 PM

Maybe we can be "cheerleaders" for one another and any one else who is working to make healthy lifestyle changes. For me, the hardest part has always been getting started --not that there aren't temptations along the way until new habits are established.

Bethany1202 wrote on December 24, 2014, 1:23 PM

Sorry you received such news but maybe it's a GREAT thing you switched doctors and found this out sooner than later. Best wishes and Merry Christmas!

Feisty56 wrote on December 24, 2014, 1:43 PM

Thank you. It's one of those moments where it seems the world as you know it -- at least from your own perspective -- has suddenly changed. I realize people receive devastating diagnoses and news all the time, conditions much more severe than my own. I am mentally adjusting and am thankful the news wasn't worse.

Feisty56 wrote on December 24, 2014, 1:45 PM

Thank you, paigea . I feel as if I have a grasp on this and have already begun to make necessary lifestyle changes.

Feisty56 wrote on December 24, 2014, 1:46 PM

The weight issue is perhaps the biggest stumbling block for me, but I am taking baby steps to change that. I appreciate your thoughtfulness.

Feisty56 wrote on December 24, 2014, 1:47 PM

Thank you : ) Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you and yours.

melody23 wrote on December 24, 2014, 5:06 PM

my problem is I physically cant diet, my food issues mean that I just cant eat a lot of healthy stuff. having said that, I know I can do better than I am currently and that is what I plan to do. I am totally up for cheerleading

Feisty56 wrote on December 24, 2014, 5:38 PM

Let's do this : )

BarbRad wrote on December 26, 2014, 11:43 PM

I'm certainly glad you seem to have gotten a more diligent doctor. I hope between the two of you you will find a solution for your health problems that is not too invasive. That must have been a real shock.

Feisty56 wrote on December 29, 2014, 12:18 AM

Yes, it was. I didn't think at first that it had bothered me so much, but I realized I was yet mentally reeling a few days after hearing the news.

Feisty56 wrote on December 29, 2014, 12:20 AM

As resistant as I can be to change, I'm so pleased I didn't dig my heels in this time.

BarbRad wrote on December 29, 2014, 1:11 AM

That's to be expected. You are experiencing a kind of loss, and that calls for some grieving to move on.

VinceSummers wrote on December 30, 2014, 9:19 AM

Keep us in the loop with this, please. And since the kidneys are so important, let us know of any doctor-recommended steps. Clearly your new doctor is on top of things.

Feisty56 wrote on December 30, 2014, 10:14 AM

I'll gladly pass along any information I might learn from the doctor. Reducing the red meat in my diet to help lower my cholesterol levels is going to be quite a challenge for me. I suspect as I begin to eat more healthily to help one condition, it may well help the kidney situation, too. I'll keep you apprised.

Nicky wrote on January 2, 2015, 8:07 AM

I hope that you'll be able to get alternative medication to help with your kidneys and that the insulin that she has given you is still helping you with your sugar levels.

Feisty56 wrote on January 2, 2015, 10:02 AM

Thank you. I have not yet been switched to insulin, but am on the time-released oral dose of Janumet. I am hoping there is no need to change diabetic medications, but if there is, I plan to ask for a referral to a specialist in the field.