Kidney disease in diabetes is known as diabetic nephropathy. Kidney ailments are very common in diabetics. This is primarily because diabetes affects the arteries from which your kidneys filter blood. An estimated 40% of people with Type 2 diabetes end up having diabetic nephropathy. Over the years, the condition gradually damages your kidney’s ability to function properly.
Causes of Diabetic Nephropathy
Each of your kidneys is made up of a million nephrons –tiny structures that help filter waste from the blood. Due to diabetes, the nephrons may become scarred or thick. This, in turn, disables your kidney from removing bodily fluids and filtering wastes. Eventually, diabetic nephropathy occurs when the kidneys become leaky and allow albumin (a type of protein) to pass into your urine. The condition becomes worse as the albumin level increases.
Common Symptoms Associated with Diabetic Nephropathy
In the initial stage of kidney damage, most people do not experience prominent symptoms. However, as the condition progresses, the following signs are most commonly observed –
Swelling in the feet, ankle, and legs or arms due to water retention
Heart beating abnormally due to an increase in the level of potassium in the blood
Confusion or inability to concentrate
Shortness of breath, for instance, while climbing the stairs
Dark urine due to the presence of blood in the urine
Tiredness due to lack of supply of oxygenated blood
A persistent urge to urinate
The above signs become more apparent once the disease has reached an advanced stage. You should consult a doctor immediately upon encountering these symptoms.
To help detect diabetic nephropathy early, people with extreme levels of blood sugar should be tested for kidney problems twice a year. The screening test involves drawing a urine sample to check for albumin in the urine.
The outlook for patients with diabetic nephropathy depends on the stage of the disease. The earlier you seek treatment, better will be the outlook.