Kidney health for people with diabetes

Help prevent kidney disease by controlling diabetes.

Good self-management can prevent many complications for people living with diabetes. One complication that can result from choosing no to do so is kidney disease.

In diabetic kidney disease (also called “diabetic nephropathy”), cells and blood vessels in the kidneys are damaged, affecting the organ’s ability to filter out waste. Waste builds up in the blood instead of being excreted. In some cases, this can lead to kidney failure. When the kidneys fail, a person has to have his or her blood filtered through a machine (a treatment called “dialysis”) several times a week, or he or she has to have a kidney transplant

There’s a lot a person with diabetes can do to prevent kidney problems. A recent study by the National Kidney and Urologic Diseases Information Clearinghouse shows that controlling blood glucose levels can prevent or delay the onset of kidney disease. Keeping your blood pressure under control is also important

Diabetic kidney disease happens slowly and silently, so you might not feel that anything is wrong until severe problems have developed. Therefore, it is important to get your blood and urine checked for kidney problems each year.

Your doctor can learn how well your kidneys are working by testing every year for microalbumin (a protein) in the urine. Microalbumin in the urine is an early sign of diabetic kidney disease. Your doctor can also do a yearly blood test to measure your kidney function.

Go to the doctor if you develop a bladder or kidney infection; symptoms include cloudy or bloody urine, pain or burning when you urinate, an urgent need to urinate often, back pain, chills or fever

See the following for more information

See “Diabetes and me: Learn about diabetes” for more general information about living with diabetes.

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