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Diabetic nephropathy is a kidney disease or damage to the kidneys caused by uncontrolled diabetes. In these patients, the kidneys cannot efficiently filter the waste materials from the body nor maintain the balance of chemicals in the body. Diabetic nephropathy is a progressive disease which can result in kidney failure if it is not properly managed.
In the initial stages, diabetic nephropathy does not produce any symptoms. However, the below mentioned symptoms develop when diabetic nephropathy progresses:
Diabetic nephropathy occurs due to damage to the blood vessels and cells of the kidneys in diabetic patients. It occurs as a complication of type I and type II diabetes. When diabetes is not controlled properly, it can lead to high blood pressure. This pressure can cause damage to the delicate filtering units of the kidneys called the glomeruli leading to diabetic nephropathy.
Not all the patients with diabetes develop diabetic nephropathy. Some of the modifiable and non-modifiable risk factors which make a person more prone to develop diabetic nephropathy are:
If any of the above mentioned signs or symptoms of kidney disease are experienced, then visit the doctor immediately. Diabetic patients should undergo urine tests once in a year to check for efficient kidney functioning.
Diabetic nephropathy is usually identified during regular follow up visits to a doctor. Presence of protein albumin in the urine is the main indication of kidney damage. Additionally, there is a decline in the glomerular filtration rate (GFR). The other tests include:
Treatment aims at delaying the progression of diabetic nephropathy but it cannot completely cure the condition.
Medications along with lifestyle changes are helpful to control high blood pressure and diabetes. The doctor may prescribe medications such as ACE inhibitors or angiotensin receptor blockers to control blood pressure. More intensive treatment such as dialysis or kidney transplant is necessary if the condition progresses and leads to kidney failure.
The doctor may also suggest the patient to follow a strict diet which is as follows:
In addition to the dietary restrictions, some of the lifestyle changes which can prevent the progression of diabetic nephropathy are:
The following complications can occur if diabetic nephropathy is not properly managed:
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