Diabetic Nephropathy Causes, Symptoms, Diagnosis and Treatments

Diabetic kidney disease, commonly known as Diabetic Nephropathy is kidney damage which occurs in patients with diabetes. Typically, diabetic nephropathy isn’t characterized by symptom onset as there’re usually no symptoms in its early stages. This means that most people who develop it are generally unaware of this complication until it has already caused significant damage. Therefore, it’s important that diabetic patients be screened for kidney damage so as to reduce the risk of long term kidney disease and damage, as well as its associated problems. Regular urine tests can help detect kidney damage early. Early stage kidney damage can sometimes be reversed.


Symptoms of diabetic nephropathy are almost similar to chronic kidney disease symptoms and tend to happen in the late-stages of kidney disease. When symptoms do start to appear, they may include mild fatigue and ankle swelling. Later-stage symptoms can include nausea, vomiting, extreme fatigue, and urinating less than usual. Other ways diabetic kidney disease may manifest include foamy or frothy urine because of excessive protein excretion in the urine. Edema or swelling of the feet, ankles, lower legs or hands may occur due to water retention.

Weight gain owing to fluid retention and edema can also occur. And as kidney damage and disease progresses, the kidneys cannot get rid of the waste from your blood. This waste then builds up in the body and could reach poisonous levels, a condition which is called uremia. Individuals with uremia are oftentimes confused and occasionally become comatose.

 Test and Diagnosis

Test and Diagnosis is usually done based on your medical history, physical exam and symptoms. Tests include:

  • Micro-albuminuria: Test conducted to measure albumin in urine.
  • Quantitative testing: Tests conducted to check on blood pressure at different positions and your ability to sweat.
  • Filament test: A soft nylon fiber, monofilament, is used to test sensitivity to touch.
  • Electromyography: Test conducted to check the electrical discharges produced by muscles.
  • Nerve Conduction Studies: Measures how fast the nerves in legs and arms conduct electrical signals.
    . Blood tests: To check Serum Creatinine and Blood Urea Nitrogen levels.

Diabetic nephropathy needs to be treated so as to help slow kidney damage and other related complications. Maintaining blood sugar control and lowering blood pressure is absolutely necessary so as to slow diabetic nephropathy progression. Some medicines known as angiotensin converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors are used to help slow down the progress of kidney damage. And if a patient experiences side effects severe from taking ACE inhibitors, angiotensin receptor blockers (ARBs), which are another class of drugs, can often be given instead. Advanced kidney damage and failure can require treatment with dialysis or even a kidney transplant.

 Lifestyle Modification

Strive to live a healthy life. Prevention of heart diseases is very important as people with diabetes tend to have blood vessel and heart diseases. Keep your heart healthy by exercising regularly and eating healthy foods. Watch the amount of protein you eat as too much protein can be too hard for the kidney . Also avoid salt and don’t smoke.

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button