Diabetic nephropathy

While there are many different complications of diabetes, one of the more serious problems can occur when the kidneys cannot properly function due to the disease. This complication is known as diabetic nephropathy, and it is a chronic disease that is most commonly found in people who have had diabetes for at least ten to fifteen years. It is so serious that patients who have been diagnosed with the disease can die within two years of the first appearance of lesions on the kidneys, and it is one of the most common causes for resulting kidney failure and chronic kidney disease in the United States.

In the early stages of diabetic nephropathy there are actually no symptoms. This is because the kidney functions just begin to gradually decrease over time until eventually their ability to process urine is restricted. Therefore, when glucose in the urine goes unchecked, it can create problems that develop in the kidneys, but these are often not seen at all until much later in the disease’s progression. Some of the first warning signs that a person might experience if they are suffering from diabetic nephropathy include generalized fatigue, frothy urine, headaches, nausea, a lowered appetite, swelling from the retention of water in the body, frequent hiccups, and a feeling of being itchy constantly.

Once it has been established that a patient is suffering from diabetic nephropathy, then the next step is to make sure that the kidney disease does not progress any further. Because high blood pressure can cause even further complications, it is important to make sure that this is something that is reigned in. If you are able to control your blood pressure, then you will likely be able to slow the progression of the disease. In fact, stabilizing your blood pressure is one of the most effective ways to make sure that you are doing something to help lessen the damage that is inflicted on the kidneys from the diabetic nephropathy.

After this is done, then your doctor will likely talk to you about controlling your blood sugar so that you can also work to lessen the amount of damage that is being caused to your kidneys. On top of this you might also want to talk to your doctor about controlling your lipid levels and getting on medications that can work to help reduce the amount of protein that goes through the kidneys. This is because protein can be hard on the kidneys, so making sure that you are doing something to lessen the impact of protein in your urine is an important step to controlling diabetic nephropathy. This can usually be accomplished through a combination of angiotensin receptor blockers and angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors.

After a period of time the diabetic nephropathy will continue to wreck havoc on the kidneys, and eventually when the patient goes into the end-stage of renal disease it is likely that they are going to have to be put on dialysis in order to keep their kidneys functioning. Once this stage of renal failure develops it is likely that the patient is going to have to also consider getting a kidney transplant. If the diabetic nephropathy has resulted in someone with type 1 diabetes, then it is possible that their doctors will look into doing a combination transplant of both the kidneys and the pancreas.

So, if you are someone who is suffering from diabetes, then it is important that you keep your blood sugar under control to help prevent diabetic nephropathy. It is often believed that the higher than normal glucose levels on a constant basis are what causes this condition to develop in some diabetic patients. If you suspect that you have diabetic nephropathy, then you need to consult your doctor immediately to prevent any further damage.


Last updated on Jan 30th, 2010 and filed under Diabetes Mellitus. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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