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Diabetic Nephropathy - What To Do About It?

Written and reviewed by
Dr. Akanksha 88% (195 ratings)
MBBS, MD - Internal Medicine
Nephrologist, Noida  •  21 years experience
Diabetic Nephropathy - What To Do About It?

Diabetic nephropathy refers to kidney damage caused by diabetes. Though this does not affect all diabetics; if left unchecked, it could cause kidney failure. In fact, this is one of the leading causes of chronic kidney disease and long-term kidney complications.

Diabetic nephropathy is marked by the destruction of blood vessels inside the kidneys. This is caused by high blood sugar concentration in the individual’s blood. Smokers and people suffering from cholesterol and hypertension are at a higher risk of suffering from this disease. If noticed early enough, this condition can be reversed and permanent kidney damage can be prevented. However, the disease does not have any noticeable symptoms in its early stages. As the kidney function deteriorates, patients may begin to experience swelling in the legs and feet. Some of the other symptoms patients may experience include loss of appetite, sudden weight loss, nausea, insomnia and weakness.

To diagnose this condition, doctors must rely on urine tests known as albumin urine tests. What they will be looking for is the presence of a protein known as albumin in the urine. The presence of this protein indicates that the kidneys are unable to filter blood properly and hence are damaged. This test is usually advised to be taken once every year. In addition, it is also advisable to have a creatinine test every year to check how well your kidneys are functioning. Regular check up of diabetes blood test, eye check up for Diabetic Retinopathy is also done for knowing the damage in kidney as cell of retina and kidney are same.


Treatment for this condition focuses on lowering the patient’s blood pressure and reducing damage to the kidneys. This can be done by a combination of Angiotensin II receptor blockers and ACE inhibitors or Angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors. Patients may need additional medication to resolve accompanying cholesterol issues. NSAIDS such as ibuprofen should be avoided as they can stress the kidneys and cause further damage. In addition, it is also essential to bring the patient’s blood sugar levels under control. Limiting the protein intake and increase the intake fresh fruit and vegetable consumption can also help treat this condition. Patients should also limit their salt intake.

Diabetic Nephropathy can be prevented. The best way to do this is by eating a healthy, well-balanced diet and taking your blood sugar medication regularly. As long as your blood sugar is stable and your blood pressure does not increase too much, you will have a low risk of diabetic nephropathy. Maintaining a healthy weight with the help of regular exercise can also help prevent this condition.

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