Diabetic Nephropathy is the leading cause of Kidney Failure or End-Stage Renal Disease (ESRD) in the United States. It is also the
leading cause of death for Type I diabetics. Approximately 40% of Type I diabetics and 50% of Type II diabetics will acquire this complication during the course of their disease. Kidney failure decreases a person’s longevity by years but can be managed through dialysis, medications and regulating protein, potassium, sodium and fluids in your diet; as well as tight blood glucose control.
Diabetic Nephropathy is caused by pathological changes within the kidney. This is partially due to consistently high blood glucose levels in diabetics which lead to ketones, albumin and protein in the urine. These large particles can cause damage to the blood vessels within the kidney leading to scaring and leakage. The progression and severity of kidney disease in diabetics varies depending on many other risk factors. Diabetics with predisposition to kidney disease, polycystic kidney disease, keloid scaring or a history of
hypertension are at an even greater risk of developing kidney disease. The progress of this disease can be delayed by keeping a tight control on your blood glucose level.
The first sign of Diabetic Nephropathy is albumin in the urine. The American Diabetic Association recommends testing to begin immediately on all patients diagnosed with Type II diabetes and to begin testing on Type I diabetes 5 years after the patient is
diagnosed; or sooner if they have other risk factors. Once protein is found in the urine the progression to ESRD or kidney failure is to be expected within the next 5-15 years. The best way to maintain the health of your kidneys is to control your blood glucose levels, maintain your blood pressure and see your doctor to get tested.