Diabetes and Kidney Disease

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Diabetes and Kidney Disease

Diabetes and Kidney Disease

Did you know that 50% of diabetics experience some kind of kidney issue at some point in their lives? As shocking as this may be, you will be even more surprised that kidney disease and diabetes pretty much go hand in hand. This means that if you are already diabetic or have recently been diagnosed with the condition, you need to not only keep your blood sugar under control, but will also need to keep an eye on the health of your kidneys.

What is Diabetes?

Diabetes is a problem with the blood sugar or  glucose level in body. If your body is unable to produce enough amounts of the hormone insulin, it won’t be able to convert the sugar you get from food into glucose. This would mean that your blood has high levels of sugar running through it. This in turn can lead to many health issues like high blood pressure, coronary heart conditions, kidney disease, and fatty liver disease.

If the condition remain unchecked, it can lead to amputation of the limbs and even death. Since diabetes is an autoimmune disease, it currently has no cure but can be effectively managed. The key is getting diagnosed in early stages. Some of the most common signs of diabetes are:

  • Increased urination
  • Increased thirst
  • Increased hunger
  • Overweight ( obese people are more at risk)
  • Hormonal imbalance
  • Some other kind of autoimmune disease
  • Pre-diabetes or metabolic syndrome

If you have any of the above symptoms, then you need to see a doctor immediately. They will run blood tests to determine whether or not you have a diabetic condition. Diabetes has become an epidemic with more and more people getting diagnosed each year. Women are more susceptible to it than men, although it can happen to anyone at any age.

Diabetes can give rise to many diseases and kidney damage is one of them.  Here is what kidney disease actually is.

What is Kidney Disease and the Relation to Diabetes

Kidney disease is when the kidneys are not functioning properly and unable to clean the blood as effectively as they should. When kidney disease occurs it means that waste starts building up in your blood. As the condition get worse, the higher the chance of kidney failure.

When the kidneys start giving problems due to diabetes, it is known as diabetic nephropathy. For many people, this can lead to kidney failure. Around 1/3 of people with diabetes develop kidney disease. Kidney disease becomes worse when people have it along with diabetes because chances of other diseases popping up become much higher. From bladder infections to nerve damage of the bladder, high cholesterol to blood vessel disease, more symptoms can occur.

Why does diabetic nephropathy occur? As mentioned before, diabetes give rise to high levels of sugar in the blood. This excessive amount of sugar can damage the blood vessels in the kidneys and as a result, they are unable to perform to their optimum level. If the condition progresses,  it could eventually lead to kidney failure. But not everyone who has diabetes develops diabetic nephropathy or kidney disease.

Studies show that people who have high cholesterol and high blood pressure along with diabetes are more at risk for developing kidney disease. Smokers are also at higher risk.  Stats also depict that Hispanics, Native Americans, and African Americans are more likely to develop diabetic nephropathy than people of other ethnicities.

The worst thing about kidney disease that occurs due to diabetes is that here are no symptoms when it’s in the early stage. This means that you won’t find out until it’s too late. This is the reason why diabetics are advised to get their urine tests done regularly so that they know if they might be suffering from kidney issues. For people who discover their kidney disease early on, they can often reverse the condition with proper treatment and lead a very normal life.

Some of the most common symptoms of diabetic nephropathy are:

  • Poor appetite
  • Swelling of feet, hands and face
  • Nausea
  • Muscle twitching
  • Itching and very dry skin
  • Problems sleeping
  • Drowsiness
  • Weakness
  • Potassium increases and causes abnormal heart rhythm

The more the condition progresses, the more waste accumulates in your blood. This can lead to blood poisoning also known as uremia. When this happens, people either become confused or go into a coma. This is rare, but it’s a possibility. If you have any of the above symptoms, you need to see a doctor immediately to find out what can be done to manage the symptoms.

What Can You Do?

Just because you have diabetes, does not mean that you are 100% going to develop diabetic nephropathy. The best way to remain aware is to make sure that your diabetes is well managed and that you get urine tests done regularly.

If you have been diagnosed with the condition or feel that you may have kidney disease, then you will need to talk to your doctor about the best treatment option for you.  If the condition has become too advanced, you will be asked to get dialysis treatment or a kidney transplant.


  • https://www.thediabetescouncil.com/diabetes-and-renal-failure-everything-you-need-to-know/
  • https://www.webmd.com/diabetes/guide/diabetes-kidney-disease
  • https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/conditionsandtreatments/diabetes-and-kidney-failure
  • https://patient.info/health/diabetes-mellitus-leaflet/diabetic-kidney-disease
  • https://www.webmd.com/diabetes/tc/diabetic-nephropathy-topic-overview#1
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