A high percentage of people with diabetes (Type 1 & 2) end up with some damage to their kidneys. This condition, also known as diabetic nephropathy, occurs when the nephrons in the kidneys work overtime in expelling glucose from the blood. When the blood sugar levels increase frequently, they also damage the blood vessels in the kidneys. This is a serious and life-threatening condition and is usually progressive if not treated actively.
Diabetic kidney disease may not have any symptoms in its early stages. Or they may be indistinct and vague like feelings of tiredness and having low energy. And when the symptoms do start occurring with a decrease in the functioning of the kidneys, they are different for everybody depending on the severity of the damage, age of the patient, and the general health. Some of the most common symptoms include-
While the exact reasons for diabetic kidney disease are unknown, there are some reasons that are known to contribute actively. It’s good to know some of the most common causes and risk factors of diabetic kidney disease that include:
If you suffer from diabetes and have been experiencing the above-mentioned symptoms, it is essential to talk to your doctor. Once the doctor understands these and assesses your medical history, she/he may refer you to a nephrologist or an endocrinologist and suggest these tests:
These are the most common tests to check for early signs of damages to the kidney. These tests are also good indicators of the working condition of the kidneys and the presence of microalbumin protein or urea nitrogen in the urine and the blood.
An X-Ray, MRI, or ultrasound may be done to assess the structure and size of the kidneys and determine how well the blood is circulating in the kidneys.
This test is done to analyse the kidneys’ filtering capacity and functioning.
This may be done to closely examine the tissues of the kidney and check their functioning.
Since diabetic kidney disease is an irreversible condition and cannot be cured, treatments are used to curtail its progression. This is done by managing your blood sugar levels and hypertension to slow down or delay its progression and other complications. The treatment depends on the stage of diabetic kidney disease that you are in and include:
Medications: Your doctor may administer medicines to control your high blood pressure, high blood sugar levels, bettering your bone health, and controlling the levels of proteins in urine.
Kidney Transplant : A kidney transplant includes placing a kidney from a donor in your body to help treat chronic kidney disease and help you feel better and live longer.
Dialysis : Dialysis helps in removing waste, salt, and extra water from building up in the body and to control high blood pressure levels. Depending on your condition, your doctor will advise hemodialysis or peritoneal dialysis.
There are several diabetic kidney disease guidelines that can not only prevent this condition but also slow down its progression. Ways in which you can keep your kidneys healthy for long include: