Diabetic Kidney Disease

Diabetic kidney disease is often referred to kidney disease caused by diabetes.

Diabetes, which occurs when your body’s blood sugar is too high, is a serious health issue in the United States and the most common cause of chronic kidney disease. An estimated 29 million people have diabetes and another 86 million people ages 20 and older have prediabetes.

When too much sugar gets in the blood, it affects the kidneys’ ability to effectively filter wastes and extra fluids from the blood. These wastes and fluids then build up in the blood and, over time, lead to kidney damage.

People ages 45 and older should get tested for diabetes or prediabetes. People under 45 should get tested if they are overweight or obese and have multiple risk factors. There are three types of diabetes:

  • Type 1 occurs when your body no longer makes insulin.
  • Type 2 occurs when your body doesn’t use insulin effectively. This is the most common form of diabetes.
  • Gestational develops when a woman is pregnant and her hormones prevent the body from using insulin effectively. It typically goes away after the baby is born.

What are the symptoms of diabetic kidney disease?

Some people may not even know they have diabetes. Common signs are:

  • Swelling in your hands, feet or ankles.
  • Dry, itchy skin
  • Feeling tired and hungry
  • Frequent urination
  • Unexplained weight loss

Am I at risk for diabetes?

Talk to your doctor if you have any of these risk factors:

  • Age 45 and older
  • Overweight or obese
  • Family history of diabetes
  • High levels of blood pressure, blood sugar and cholesterol
  • Physically inactive

How is diabetic kidney disease diagnosed?

Your doctor will perform various tests to determine if you have diabetic kidney disease:

  • Blood pressure tests
  • Albumin and creatinine measurement
  • Estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR) test

Once you are diagnosed, your doctor works closely with you to manage your diabetic kidney disease. This may include changing your lifestyle and eating habits and taking medicine to control your blood pressure.

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