What Is Diabetic Nephropathy?
Diabetic nephropathy is kidney disease that develops due to diabetes.
In people with diabetes, too much blood sugar or glucose can damage blood vessels inside the kidneys and affect how they work. Both type 1 and type 2 diabetes can cause kidney disease.
About 1 in 3 adults with diabetes may have chronic kidney disease.
Types of diabetic nephropathy
Doctors also call diabetic nephropathy diabetic kidney disease or chronic kidney disease (CKD) due to diabetes.
Diabetes can cause damage to the glomerulus, the part of the kidney that filters blood. There are many of them in your kidneys. When these filters get damaged, this is diabetic glomerulopathy.
Diabetic kidney disease causes
Excessive blood sugar levels from diabetes damage blood vessels inside the kidneys. This damage happens over time, so you might not notice any symptoms of kidney disease at first.
High blood pressure in people with diabetes can also cause the disease.
Blood vessels in the kidneys become damaged, making it hard for kidney filters to remove waste. When this occurs, fluid starts to build up in the body.
Diabetic kidney disease risk factors and complications
Having diabetes puts you at risk for diabetic kidney disease.
You're also at greater risk if you:
- Have blood glucose levels that are too high. Your doctor will talk with you about the sugar level that's right for you.
- Have high blood pressure, and you don't take medicine to get it under control.
- Are overweight.
When you can't manage blood sugar levels and blood pressure, diabetic kidney disease can progress to kidney failure or end-stage renal disease.
If you have kidney failure, your kidneys can no longer filter your blood. This leads to a build-up of waste and fluid in the body.
Doctors treat end-stage kidney disease with dialysis to filter waste and fluid or a kidney transplant.
How to prevent diabetic kidney disease
Preventing diabetic kidney disease starts with knowing your risk factors. It's also important to know that you might not have any symptoms until the disease has progressed.
Steps you can take to help prevent or reduce your risk of kidney disease include:
- See your doctor routinely and get tested for kidney disease.
- Check your blood sugar often to make sure your levels are in the right range.
- Control high blood pressure if you have it.
- Lose weight if you need to.
- Make healthy lifestyle changes. These include getting regular exercise, eating healthy foods, and not smoking.
If you have kidney disease, these steps can also help keep it from getting worse.
Why Choose UPMC For Diabetic Nephropathy Care?
The UPMC Kidney Disease Center includes leading experts in the field of kidney disease. We work with your PCP and endocrinologists on a treatment plan to slow the progression of your diabetic kidney disease.
We also partner with UPMC's kidney transplant experts, offering care for diabetic kidney disease that has progressed to end-stage renal disease.
Learn More About Diabetic Kidney Disease