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HealthInfo Canterbury

Diabetes & kidney disease

Diabetic nephropathyDiabetes can damage your kidneys, which can make them stop working.

Diabetic nephropathy happens when diabetes damages your kidneys' filtering system. This can happen from having high blood glucose (sugar) for a long time.

Diabetic nephropathy causes protein to leak into your urine. Over time, your kidneys can become unable to remove waste. This becomes chronic kidney disease (CKD), which can lead to kidney failure.

You are more at risk of kidney disease if you are Māori or Pacific.

Having regular checks of your kidneys and blood pressure can help. Checks can pick up changes early, so you can keep your kidneys working longer.

You can reduce your risk of getting kidney problems by keeping good control of your diabetes and blood pressure.

Symptoms of diabetic kidney disease

Most people have no symptoms until the damage to their kidneys is advanced. Symptoms may include:

Diagnosing diabetic kidney disease

Your doctors may use several tests to diagnose diabetic nephropathy. These include:

Treating diabetic kidney disease

Any treatment for diabetic nephropathy aims to slow down damage to your kidneys. It includes:

If diabetic nephropathy becomes severe, you will need dialysis or a kidney transplant.

Self‑care for kidney disease

If you have kidney disease, good diabetes and blood pressure control can stop it getting worse.

Every year have a blood test, urine test, and blood pressure check.

Don't smoke.

Eat well and keep physically active.

Cut down the amount of salt you eat.

Don't get dry (dehydrated).

Don't take anti‑inflammatory tablets such as ibuprofen (Nurofen) and diclofenac (Voltaren).

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Written by HealthInfo clinical advisers. Last reviewed July 2019.


Page reference: 203300

Review key: HIDIA-21832