Diabetes and CKD


Diabetic kidney disease, or diabetic nephropathy, is a chronic type of kidney disease that can affect people with diabetes. This condition may take years to develop, over time the increased blood sugar levels can cause damage to the filters and vessels within the filters of the kidneys.

It has become one of the leading causes of kidney failure.  If you are diabetic it is important to make sure your kidney function is monitored regularly.

Diabetic nephropathy affects how your kidneys perform its role in eliminating waste and extra fluid from your blood.

Early screening, diagnosis and treatment of diabetes as well as CKD is import in slowing the progression of diabetic nephropathy and lack early intervention can lead to not only CKD but other organ damage due to the diabetes.


About Other Causes of CKD

Low levels of albumin or protein (proteinuria) in the urine can be found early in those with diabetes and can increase with time.  Eventually, the damage will be measured in your blood in the form of an elevated creatinine and decreased estimated glomerular filtration rate or eGFR.

Other diagnositic tests may be preformed to verify the diagnosis such as; an ultrasound or kidney biopsy.

After the diagnosis of diabetes is made, it is important to make sure your kidney function is assessed regularly.

You may not be able to notice any symptoms of diabetic nephropathy in the early stages.

As the disease progresses, you may notice;

  • Hypertension or high blood pressure
  • Proteinuria
  • Consistent swelling of ankles, feet, eyes, and/or hands
  • Increased urination
  • Loss of appetite
  • Vomiting and nausea
  • Fatigue
  • Reduced need for diabetes medicine as kidney function decline

It is important to have your kidney function checked regularly if you are diabetic and discuss when it is time to see a nephrologist if your kidney function is declining.

To prevent diabetic nephropathy, make sure your diabetes is addressed by your PCP (primary care physician) or endocrinologist (diabetic doctor) aggressively. Make sure you are taking the medications they have prescribed and reporting any side effects to assure you are on the correct medication.

Maintain a healthy weight and exercise most days.  Practice a healthy diet-ideally also prescribed by your PCP or Endocrinologist to help manage your diabetes.  Participate in diabetic classes or support groups offered by your providers, or seek out public forms of diabetic education provided by the City you live in, county agencies, or the YMCA (many have free diabetic self management programs for free).

Control other medical conditions you have such as high blood pressure and stop using tobacco products including vaping.

The goals of good diabetic control will help slow the progression or if done early enough could prevent CKD.

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