Diabetic nephropathy is kidney damage that occurs with diabetes. It is the job of the kidneys to: Damage from diabetes can prevent the kidneys from working well. In some cases, this can lead to kidney failure .
Blood passes through small filters in the kidneys. Changes in the blood vessels due to diabetes can cause damage to these filters. Blood sugar levels that are not well-controlled can have the greatest impact on the kidney filters.
Over time the damage to the filters increases. The damaged filters cannot clean the blood properly and protein from the blood can leak into the urine. If left untreated, this can lead to kidney failure.
Diabetic nephropathy is kidney damage that occurs with diabetes.
It is the job of the kidneys to:
- Filter blood
- Catch needed substances and return them to circulation
- Creates urine to pass waste out of the body
Damage from diabetes can prevent the kidneys from working well. In some cases, this can lead to
Anatomy of the Kidney Copyright © Nucleus Medical Media, Inc.
The doctor will ask about your symptoms and medical history. A physical exam will be done. Tests may include the following:
- Blood tests to check your kidney function
- Urine tests to check for protein in your urine
To help reduce your chances of getting diabetic nephropathy, take the following steps:
- See your doctor regularly. During checkups, you will have your blood pressure, urine, blood, and organs monitored for changes.
Control blood sugar levels.
Follow your diabetes treatment regimen as directed.
- Work with your doctor to maintain a healthy blood pressure (less than 130/80 mmHg).
- Exercise daily.
- Quit smoking.
Factors that may increase your chance of diabetic nephropathy include Type 1 diabetes and Type 2 diabetes
- Poor control
of blood glucose
- High blood pressure
(puts further stress on your kidneys and increases your risk of kidney damage.)
- High cholesterol
- Poor control
Symptoms may not appear until the kidney damage is very severe. Tell your doctor if you have any of these:
- Fluid buildup may appear as swelling in feet or hands
- Loss of appetite
- Difficulty sleeping
- Confusion and trouble concentrating
If you have any of these symptoms, do not assume they are due to kidney problems. Symptoms may be caused by other conditions.
Talk with your doctor about the best treatment plan for you.
Treatment is aimed at preventing or slowing further kidney damage. It may involve lifestyle changes and medications. Your doctor will also work with you to help control your diabetes and blood pressure. This may help prevent further kidney damage.
Lifestyle changes that will help control your blood sugar and blood pressure include:
Lose weight if you are
- Eat less salt
- Stop smoking
- Avoid alcohol
- Follow your diabetes management plan