People with type 2 diabetes (T2DM) can have high blood sugar levels. Over time, this can damage the blood vessels in the kidneys and lead to kidney damage, which is known as diabetic nephropathy.
Kidney damage is a severe complication that has links to T2DM. This is a condition where a person may experience elevated blood sugar levels due to issues with how the body uses or produces insulin.
Diabetic nephropathy, or diabetic kidney disease, refers to kidney damage due to diabetes. This condition is a leading cause of kidney failure. The relationship between T2DM and kidney disease is intricate and often underlines the importance of effectively managing diabetes to prevent kidney complications.
One of the main functions of the kidneys is removing various waste products and filtering them into the urine. The kidneys contain millions of blood vessels and small holes, which help filter small molecules, such as waste products.
Diabetic nephropathy is a potential complication of diabetes that describes kidney damage. High levels of blood sugar, known as hyperglycemia, can cause the kidneys to filter too much blood. This places extra effort on the filters, which can result in damage.
Over an extended time, the kidneys may start to leak, and useful protein becomes lost in the urine. The stress can eventually cause the kidneys to lose their filtering ability, leading to waste products building up in the blood. Eventually, this can result in kidney failure.
Read on to learn more about microalbuminuria and diabetic nephropathy.
In the early stages of diabetic nephropathy, a person
As the condition progresses, a person may start to notice the following symptoms:
- foamy urine
- swelling in the legs, feet, and hands
- being short of breath
- feeling sick
- blood in the urine
The primary cause of diabetic nephropathy is long periods of high blood sugar levels, or hyperglycemia.
Over time, this can damage the blood vessels and filters within the kidneys. Eventually, this damage causes a slow and progressive loss of kidney function.
Additionally, there are also modifiable factors, which are those that a person can control or change. These
- having overweight
- not exercising regularly
- not following a diabetes eating plan
- eating foods high in salt
The type of treatment for diabetic nephropathy will depend on the stage of kidney disease.
Managing and preventing diabetic nephropathy primarily involves controlling blood sugar levels. Some antidiabetic medications, such as sodium-glucose cotransporter-2 inhibitors, may help manage the condition.
A person may require medication that can simultaneously lower blood pressure and protect the kidneys from further damage. These drugs include angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors or angiotensin 2 receptor blockers.
Lifestyle changes, such as a moderate diet, regular exercise, and smoking cessation, can also play a crucial role in managing diabetic nephropathy.
Preventing diabetic nephropathy involves a person managing their T2DM in line with their care plan. This
Managing other risk factors,
Prolonged periods of high blood sugar levels due to type 2 diabetes can damage the kidneys. Over time, this may cause kidney disease, which is known as diabetic nephropathy. Diabetic nephropathy can lead to severe kidney damage and, without management, can progress to kidney failure.
Early detection through regular screenings, effective control of blood sugar levels and blood pressure, lifestyle modifications, and prompt medical intervention are vital in preventing or slowing the progression of diabetic nephropathy in individuals with type 2 diabetes.