Diabetic Nephropathy, How Diabetes Effects The Kidneys:
Ok, so over the past couple of weeks, I’ve received several questions relating to the issues diabetics face in relation to kidney problems and how diabetes affects the kidneys, also known as nephropathy.
Diabetic nephropathy is the most common cause of renal failure, accounting for more than half of all cases of end-stage renal disease in the United States. Renal disease will affect between 20-40% of diabetics in their lifetime, so lets take a closer look at what its all about and more importantly, what we can do to avoid it!
Stop me if you’ve heard this one before, but as we’re aware, diabetes can affect many parts of the body, including the kidneys. In healthy kidneys, many tiny blood vessels filter waste products from your body. The blood vessels have holes that are big enough to allow tiny waste products to pass through into the urine but are still small enough to keep useful products (such as protein and red blood cells) in the blood.
High levels of sugar in the blood can damage these vessels over time if diabetes is not controlled. This can cause kidney disease, which is also called nephropathy (say: nef-rah-puh-thee). If your not well controlled and the damage is bad enough, your kidneys could stop working.
Signs And Symptoms Of Nephropathy:
Early signs and symptoms of kidney disease in patients with diabetes are typically unusual. However, signs and symptoms listed below may manifest when kidney disease has progressed:
- Albumin or protein in the urine
- High blood pressure
- Ankle and leg swelling, leg cramps
- Going to the bathroom more often at night
- High levels of blood urea nitrogen (BUN) and serum creatinine
- Less need for insulin or antidiabetic medications
- Morning sickness, nausea, and vomiting
- Weakness, paleness, and anemia
The differential diagnosis of diabetic nephropathy are extensive, but they include the following in a patient with known type 1 and type 2 diabetes:
- Primary or secondary glomerular disease
- Renovascular hypertension
- Renal artery stenosis
- Renal vein thrombosis
- Multiple myeloma
- Cholesterol embolization
- Chronic obstruction
- Interstitial nephritis