Diabetic Kidney Disease



Diabetic kidney disease or diabetic nephropathy can lead to kidney failure. Our kidneys perform many complicated functions. They filter out wastes from our blood, regulate blood pressure, adjust our blood ph, metabolize glucose, and are involved in red blood cell production. In addition our kidneys secrete a variety of hormones. Certainly our kidneys are not an organ to be abused.

Diabetes and it’s high insulin levels are the most common cause of kidney failure. Fortunately most diabetics will not have chronic kidney disease leading to kidney failure and kidney dialysis. Diabetes sister disease of high blood pressure also leads to kidney failure.

Other causes of kidney failure are:

Bladder cancer

Blockage or Narrowing of artery carrying blood to kidneys.

Blood Clot

Blood vessel diseases

Dehydration from vomiting, diarrhea, water pills or blood loss.

Heart Failure or Heart Attack

Lack of blood flow from injury or surgery.

Liver failure affecting blood flow to kidneys

Enlarged Prostate

Obstruction in ureters from kidney stones

Obstruction of Bladder from bladder stones

Diabetic kidney disease progresses slowly as it rarely leads to kidney failure in the first 10 years of diabetes. If a diabetic has not had kidney failure after 25 years of being a diabetic then it’s unlikely to develop.

The symptoms of diabetic kidney disease are:

Changes in Urination - Frequent Nighttime urination. Urine may be foamy, bubbly or pale in color. Infrequent urination and very dark urine. Urine has blood in it. Pressure or difficulty in urination.

Cold All the Time - The anemia caused by lack of red blood production makes us cold.

Dizziness and Poor Concentration - Brain is short on oxygen caused by lack of red blood production

Foul Breath or Metallic Taste - A back up of waste materials in the blood can alter food tastes, cause bad breath and make your appetite go away.

Fluid Retention or Swelling - Excess fluid builds up in legs, ankles, feet, hands and a puffy face.

Itchy Skin or Rash - Without clean blood the waste materials remain in the blood stream poisoning your cells.

Nausea and Vomiting - Severe waste buildup in the blood is the cause.

Pain in Side or Back - Usually the pain indicates the side of afflicted kidney.


Shortness of Breath - Caused by extra fluids in the lungs and anemia caused by lack of red blood production gives us less oxygen.

Tired or Fatigued - The kidneys make our oxygen rich red blood cells. with decreased red blood cell production the brain and muscles become tired.

Like diabetes, African Americans, Latinos and American Indians, are more likely to get kidney disease than Caucasians.

Kidney disease may be detected by a simple urine test. The test will compare eGFR and urine albumin. At this point a proper diet, nutritional supplementation and exercise may keep the disease from progressing. Make sure to control diabetes and high blood pressure as these are the two diseases that lead to kidney disease. Once kidney failure has occurred there are two remedies. Either a kidney transplant or regular dialysis treatments.

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