What is diabetic kidney disease?

Also known as diabetic nephropathy, diabetic kidney disease is a severe complication of both type 1 and type 2 diabetes. This condition refers to the malfunction of the kidneys because of improper blood sugar management. It involves the inability of the kidneys to do their usual function, which is to remove waste products and excess fluid from the body.

Without immediate treatment, diabetic kidney disease can progress to kidney failure. This type of disease also encompasses different stages. Consider the following information:

Stage 1 – This stage is also called the early and mild stages of diabetic nephropathy. During this stage, the kidneys work more strenuously compared to their normal range. The kidneys can also become a little bigger in this phase.

Stage 2 – In this stage, the disease develops slowly. While the kidneys are still functioning at their best, signs of kidney damage are already present. Additionally, a high concentration of protein becomes present in urine.

Stage 3 – During this phase of the disease, complications like anemia and high blood pressure emerge. However, symptoms can still be absent.

Stage 4 – In the 4th stage of the disease, you need to closely monitor the condition to avoid kidney failure. Also, symptoms begin to appear, such as swelling in both the hands and feet and a change in urination.

Stage 5 – In this stage, various symptoms slowly appear. These symptoms include muscle cramps, nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, swelling in hands and feet, seizures, difficulty breathing, and back pain. These symptoms often determine that you are already experiencing kidney failure.

What are the symptoms of diabetic kidney disease?

The following are the major symptoms of diabetic kidney disease:

  • The presence of protein in the urine
  • Swelling of the hands and feet
  • Fatigue or tiredness
  • Frequent urination
  • Shortness of breath
  • High blood pressure
  • Lack of appetite
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Seizures or convulsions
  • Severe back pain

Risk Factors and Complications

An individual is at high risk of acquiring diabetic nephropathy if they have diabetes. However, some other factors also increase someone’s chances of getting diagnosed with diabetic kidney disease. These are as follows:

  • Hyperglycemia (high blood sugar levels)
  • Addiction to smoking
  • High blood cholesterol
  • Obesity or overweight
  • History of diabetes within the family
  • Hypertension (high blood pressure)

The following is the list of diabetic kidney disease complications if proper treatment is not administered:

  • Fluid retention
  • Foot sores
  • Erectile dysfunction
  • End-stage kidney disease
  • Hyperkalemia
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Anemia
  • Bone and mineral disorder
  • Diabetic retinopathy
  • Pregnancy complications

Treatment and Prevention

Since diabetic nephropathy is a complication of diabetes, its preventive measure involves proper diabetes management through following a series of treatment procedures. These include the following:

  • Regular consumption of oral diabetes medications.
  • Taking daily insulin shots.
  • A regular visit to the doctor.
  • Daily exercise and proper diet.

If diabetic nephropathy has already developed, the following treatment is recommended.

  • During the early stage of the disease, the treatment plan should include drugs that help manage blood pressure, blood sugar, high cholesterol, and kidney scarring.
  • When diabetic nephropathy has already advanced to a more severe stage, kidney dialysis or transplant is necessary.

How can you prevent diabetic nephropathy? The following lifestyle change and home routines can help you prevent the condition from happening and getting worse.

  • Regularly monitor your blood sugar levels. You can do this routine by using blood glucose meters or continuous glucose monitors. Learning about your blood sugar levels on a daily basis can help you manage your condition well.
  • Be physically active. A 30-minute to 1-hour exercise is enough to help you become active daily. This will help prevent complications of diabetes like diabetic kidney disease.
  • If you smoke, quit immediately. This addiction will not only worsen diabetes but also make way for different complications.
  • Observe proper diet. If you have diabetes, eat more fiber-rich foods. This will help slow down digestion and prevent diabetes attacks.
  • Visit your doctor regularly. Aside from following the above-mentioned measures, you need to visit your doctor regularly to check your condition and learn more ways how to manage your diabetes properly.