Kidney Damage (Nephropathy)

What is diabetic nephropathy?

It occurs in 20 to 40 % of diabetic patients and is single leading cause of kidney failure and kidney transplant. In people with diabetes, damage to the filtering units of the kidneys (nephron) may occur. This damage affects the filtering function and can lead to problems such as the loss of a protein called albumin in the urine and high blood pressure.

If picked up early and managed, serious kidney problems can be prevented. If left undetected or untreated, the kidneys will begin to fail.

Classic signs and symptoms

  • Increased tiredness
  • Fluid retention – often seen as swollen feet and ankles
  • Difficulty in breathing at rest
  • Loss of appetite
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting.

High blood pressure, heart disease or problem in urinary tract along with poor control of diabetes further precipitates the kidney damage.

The incidence of kidney damage is 2 times higher in uncontrolled diabetes.

How to prevent nephropathy?

  • Keep blood glucose & blood pressure in control
  • Treat urinary tract infections, promptly
  • Test for urinary protein, microscopic albumin, & creatinine as per the instructions of the doctor.
  • Doctor may advise you reduction in protein intake. Discuss with your dietician about it.

For the assessment of kidney function

• ADA recommends measurement of urinary albumin to urinary creatinine ratio once a year in type 1 diabetic patients with diabetes duration more than 5 years and all type 2 diabetes patients starting at diagnosis.

• ADA also recommends measurement of serum creatinine once in a year.

Control of blood glucose and blood pressure reduces risk of kidney damage. Discuss with your doctor about the right figures of blood glucose & blood pressure for you