Diabetes Has A Strong Connection to Kidney Disease. Be Proactive



By Joy Stephenson-Laws, JD, Founder


I am quite familiar with the devastating toll that diabetes can have. For example, diabetes was primarily responsible for the death of my parents and many other family members. It is a common condition today - more than 37 million Americans have diabetes with 90 to 95 percent of this group having type 2 diabetes. Notwithstanding all this, I think many people still believe that “it’s not that big of a deal.”

The reality is that diabetes is a huge deal, and November is American Diabetes Month.

Take, for example, the recent passing of Jon DeChambeau at just 63-years-old. He was the father of professional golfer Bryson DeChambeau. There are still a lot of unknowns on what the exact cause of death is, but several reports highlight that Jon died after a “lengthy bout” with diabetes. It’s evident that Jon really suffered, and diabetes took a major toll on his kidneys.

“Each kidney is made up of millions of tiny filters called nephrons. Over time, high blood sugar from diabetes can damage blood vessels in the kidneys as well as nephrons so they don’t work as well as they should. Many people with diabetes also develop high blood pressure, which can damage kidneys too,” according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).




Reportedly, Jon was diagnosed with diabetes in the early 1990s. This would have made him only about in his early thirties or so. By 2014, reports say that both of his kidneys failed due to having diabetes. According to Golf Digest, Jon underwent a kidney transplant in 2017.

Furthermore, “He [Jon] said in 2016 that he put on 35 pounds of toxin and fluid weight as the peritoneal dialysis he was on stopped working,” according to this report from the Golf Channel.

(To read about the details of what peritoneal dialysis involves, read here).

In addition to this, Jon had to have his left leg amputated and was confined to a motorized wheelchair. Diabetes certainly had a major impact on the quality of his life. According to this report, Jon was in a coma that he never woke up from.

There are many unknowns, but here are my thoughts.

First, it’s important to acknowledge that there is type 1 diabetes and type 2 diabetes. Also called insulin-dependent or juvenile diabetes, type 1 occurs when the pancreas does not make insulin or makes very little insulin (a hormone that is produced by the pancreas). Although it can happen at any age, type 1 diabetes usually occurs in children, teens and young adults, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

“Type 1 diabetes is less common than type 2—about 5-10% of people with diabetes have type 1,” reports the CDC.

Type 1 diabetes is believed to be caused by an autoimmune reaction (when the body attacks itself).

When I talk about diabetes, about 99 percent of the time I am referring to type 2 diabetes, which I also call diet-related diabetes.

“If you have type 2 diabetes, cells don’t respond normally to insulin; this is called insulin resistance. Your pancreas makes more insulin to try to get cells to respond. Eventually your pancreas can’t keep up, and your blood sugar rises, setting the stage for prediabetes and type 2 diabetes,” (CDC).

Although some medical professionals might say that genetics plays a role in the development of type 2 diabetes, I would argue that more than 95 percent of competent medical professionals would also agree that type 2 diabetes is associated with an unhealthy lifestyle. For example, obesity or having excess fat as well as a sedentary lifestyle are usually precursors to diabetes.

In the case of Jon DeChambeau, there is a lot I do not know. I am assuming he had type 2 diabetes based on the fact that he was diagnosed when he was an adult and because he had so many complications. You can never judge someone’s health by how they look, but Jon did not appear to be overweight. He was also a former golfer. With lifestyle changes, type 2 diabetes can often be managed, but Jon had severe kidney disease and many complications. Perhaps genetically he was predisposed to more severe illness from diabetes, and it is possible that despite his health status when he was younger he was at a higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes. I think Jon’s case of diabetes was particularly severe and relentless, however, what I want people to recognize this American Diabetes Month is that millions of Americans are unnecessarily suffering from type 2 diabetes and putting themselves at risk for an early death.

“The good news is that prediabetes and type 2 diabetes are largely preventable. About 9 in 10 cases in the U.S. can be avoided by making lifestyle changes. These same changes can also lower the chances of developing heart disease and some cancers. The key to prevention can be boiled down to five words: Stay lean and stay active,” reports the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

The symptoms of type 2 diabetes can take years to show. This is why many people do not know that they are prediabetic or diabetic, so it is a good idea to get your blood sugar levels tested in addition to maintaining a healthy body composition, active lifestyle and mainly plant-based diet. If you are 45 or older or African-American, you are considered to be in a high-risk group for prediabetes and diabetes.

We have to get our children to be proactive.

“Lifestyle changes are critical to prevention in kids, because there are no effective medications for reversing prediabetes in that age group, says Michelle Van Name, MD, a Yale Medicine pediatric endocrinologist,” according to this report from Yale Medicine.

“And we know that prediabetes and type 2 diabetes are more aggressive in kids than they are in adults,” Dr. Van Name said.

For some proactive tips you can start now, check out the following pH Labs blogs:

Remember, it is never too late to make healthy changes.

What changes will you be making this American Diabetes Month?


Enjoy your healthy life!


Disclaimer: This article is not intended to provide medical advice. Please consult with your doctor or another competent healthcare practitioner to get specific medical advice for your situation.      


The pH professional health care team includes recognized experts from a variety of health care and related disciplines, including physicians, attorneys, nutritionists, nurses, and certified fitness instructors. This team also includes the members of the pH Medical Advisory Board, which constantly monitors all pH programs, products, and services. To learn more about the pH Medical Advisory Board, click here.    


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