Kidney disease and diabetes

Majority of people with diabetes may not realize this but kidney disease and diabetes go hand-in-hand.  even have a term for the renal disease caused by diabetes – diabetic nephropathy. There are statistics that the disease affects millions of people every year. Therefore, the need to prevent diabetic kidney disease or its detection at an early stage has become more important than ever before. 

In this article, we explore the following:

  • Relationship between diabetes and kidney disease 
  • Symptoms of kidney disease in diabetic patients 
  • Diagnosis of kidney disease in diabetic patients
  • Treatment of kidney disease in diabetic patients
  • Prevention of diabetic kidney disease.

The link between kidney disease and diabetes


Diabetes is not just a one-time affair but a chronic condition that affects how our body absorbs nutrients.

Think of it like a sugar party that goes on for too long. It feels amazing at first, but when it is left unchecked, it results in a lot of problems.

It ultimately leads to a build-up of waste and toxic substances in our body which affects our normal functioning. The condition is also known to cause cardiovascular diseases.

In addition to high blood sugar levels, other factors also contribute to kidney disease due to diabetes. It includes the patient’s age, pre-existing disease conditions, smoking, obesity, and poor diet.

Symptoms of Kidney Disease in Diabetes Patients


Diabetes affects almost all parts of our bodies. It not only disrupts the metabolism of nutrients but also affects the regulatory mechanism of our kidneys and heart.

Patients with chronic kidney disease have generalized weakness and they may appear critically ill too. Some other signs and symptoms experienced by a patient with kidney disease and diabetes are as follows:

  • High albumin concentration in the urine
  • Increased blood pressure or hypertension
  • Constant swelling in the ankle and legs

Diagnosis of Kidney Disease in Diabetes Patients


Chronic kidney disease (CKD) is also known as a silent disease which usually starts manifesting the signs and symptoms when CKD has reached an advanced stage.

Conducting diagnostic assessment helps healthcare professionals to identify the cause and severity of the disease. Your doctor may advise you to undergo common diagnostic tests such as:

  • Screening tests such as albumin-to-creatinine ratio (ACR) can be used to detect kidney diseases.
  • Blood tests and urine tests can be used to detect the malfunctioning of the kidney.
  • CT or MRI scans can identify the abnormal structure and size of the kidney.
  • A kidney biopsy may also be performed to understand the extent of the damage.

Treatment of Kidney Disease in Diabetes Patients


The treatment approach of the doctors depends on the severity of the disease condition. For instance,

In the early stages of disease, try to incorporate healthy habits such as regular exercise and maintaining a healthy diet because it can slow down the progress of kidney disease.

Doctors may also prescribe some medications such as ACE inhibitors and angiotensin receptor blockers to control the disease progress.

In advanced stages, the kidney becomes too damaged to function properly. Therefore, doctors usually advise patients to undergo kidney dialysis or kidney transplant.

Prevention of Kidney Disease in Diabetes Patients


A strong disease prevention strategy starts with assessing whether you are at higher risk of acquiring diabetes or kidney disease. Say, your mother has chronic kidney disease then you are more likely to succumb to it.

You must understand that chronic kidney disease can be a silent killer with a high mortality rate. This is because in most cases, people cannot identify the disease until it has reached the advanced stage.

Therefore, we compiled some steps that will help you.

Firstly, it’s essential to know that some medications, such as Garamycin, Colymycin, and cyclosporine, can adversely affect the functioning of your kidneys.

This is why you must talk to your doctor about possible side effects of the medications that you are being prescribed.

Apart from this, you must also develop and maintain positive habits such as regular screening tests, quitting smoking, regular exercise, etc. It will prevent the onset of kidney disease or at least make it slow down.


Diabetes is a sneaky little troublemaker that can affect almost every part of our body. Whether it be our heart, eyes, and or kidneys, diabetes can cause serious damage when it is left unchecked.

However, you can still manage and prevent it through early diagnosis and adopting healthy habits. Take charge today and keep your kidneys healthy and happy!

Frequently asked questions (FAQs)

What are the initial clinical manifestations of diabetes?

Some common signs and symptoms of diabetic kidney disease include:
●       Protein in urine
●       Swelling in legs
●       Hypertension
●       Frequent urination at night time

Can diabetic kidney disease be cured?

No, there is no cure for diabetic kidney disease so far. It can only be slowed down through treatment options.

What comes first – kidney disease or diabetes?

Diabetes comes first. An article published by NIDDK claims that one in every three individuals gets diabetic kidney disease. 

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