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Diabetic Nephropathy - Symptoms And Treatment

Reviewed by
Dr. Prashant C Dheerendra 91% (35 ratings)
MBBS, MD - Internal Medicine, DM - Nephrology
Nephrologist, Bangalore  •  16 years experience
Diabetic Nephropathy - Symptoms And Treatment

Nephropathy is a common term to denote kidney disease. It is any type of damage or disease relating to the kidneys. Though not everyone with diabetes has nephropathy, diabetic nephropathy can cause kidney failure

How does diabetes affect the kidney? 

Kidneys are responsible for removing waste out from your blood. They have a lot of tiny blood vessels to do this. High blood sugar may damage such blood vessels. Once these blood vessels are destroyed, the kidneys may not function as well and it may even lead to kidney failure. 

What increases your risk of getting diabetic nephropathy? 

There are several factors which increase your risk of getting diabetic nephropathy including: 

  1. High blood pressure 
  2. High cholesterol 
  3. Smoking 
  4. If you have family history of diabetic nephropathy 

Symptoms and Diagnosis: 

There are very few noticeable symptoms, which appear when you have diabetic nephropathy, except swelling in your arms and legs. The diagnosis is done by checking for a type of protein in your urine known as albumin, which is generally excreted in very small amounts. Also increased blood levels of creatinine point towards diabetic nephropathy. Getting the diagnosis done early is crucial. 

Preventive measures:

You can prevent kidney damage by doing the following: 

  1. Keeping your blood sugar levels under control - keep HbA1C < 6-7% 
  2. Keeping your blood pressure under control in the range of 130/80 
  3. Eating healthy food 
  4. Exercising regularly 
  5. Not eating too much salt 
  6. Reducing smoke or excessive tobacco usage 

Medicines for treatment: 
If you do get diabetic nephropathy, here are some medicines, which can help manage it : 

  1. ACE inhibitors which are also called angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors 
  2. Angiotensin II Receptor Blockers (ARBs) 

The most important step is to be aware of one's kidney health and take preventive measures at all times. Consult an expert & get answers to your questions!

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