Nephropathy, in layman’s terms, is kidney damage. Individuals who are suffering from diabetes are at risk of kidney damage, and it’s referred to as diabetic nephropathy.

This article will get you introduced to some of the most important matters about diabetic nephropathy, such as its causes, risk factors, symptoms and treatment. Don’t forget to share this article afterwards to let your family and friends, especially those who are diagnosed with diabetes, to get to know diabetic nephropathy more.

Causes

Uncontrolled diabetes eventually affects the blood vessels, and it can easily lead to high blood pressure. In the long run, high blood pressure is something that can damage the delicate filtering systems employed by the kidneys.

When the ability of the kidneys to properly filter the blood fails, certain substances that should stay in the body mix with the urine and then excreted. One of those substances is called albumin, which is a type of protein. The presence of albumin in the urine can be determined through a urinalysis.

Increasing levels of albumin in the urine is an indicator that damage to the kidneys is progressing. On the other hand, albumin levels that stay the same or decrease is a sign that the treatment given to a person with diabetic nephropathy is working. It is important for a person who has diabetic nephropathy to regularly undergo a urinalysis.

Risk Factors

Needless to say, someone who is suffering from diabetes is at risk of diabetic nephropathy, but it’s not right to say that all people who are diagnosed with diabetes are bound to end up with this kidney damage.

You may have diabetes but still be able to evade diabetic nephropathy if you are successful in managing your blood pressure. As earlier mentioned, high blood pressure, a common complication of diabetes, can wreak havoc to the kidney’s filtering system. By keeping high blood pressure in check, the kidneys can be kept out of harm’s way.

Aside from uncontrolled high blood pressure, another risk factor for diabetic nephropathy is uncontrolled glucose levels. If you have diabetes and you want to prevent diabetic nephropathy from striking, make sure that you work with your doctor in having your blood sugar levels managed.

Other risk factors for diabetic nephropathy include cigarette smoking, high blood cholesterol and a family history of diabetes and kidney disease.

Symptoms

During the early stages of diabetic nephropathy, someone who has it may not experience anything. In other words, damage to the kidneys due to diabetes may not produce any symptom at all.

It’s for this reason why it can be hard to detect the presence of diabetic nephropathy in people who are suffering from diabetes. That is why doctors continually monitor the functioning of the kidneys to be able to spot the presence of kidney damage as soon as it appears so that it can be kept from progressing.

As diabetic nephropathy progresses as the years pass by, various symptoms will start showing up. Some of them include swelling of the arms, hands, legs and feet due to fluid retention, shortness of breath, dark-colored urine, fatigue, loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, skin itchiness, confusion, and worsening blood pressure.

Treatment

In treating diabetic nephropathy, it’s very important to have the person’s high blood pressure put under control since it’s the one that is causing damage to the kidney’s filtering systems. The levels of glucose in the blood should be managed, too. There are medications that can be given to control both high blood pressure and high blood sugar levels.

Advanced cases of diabetic nephropathy usually require the person to undergo dialysis, which basically acts as a replacement for the kidneys that are no longer able to do their job. A kidney transplant is the only solution available if diabetic nephropathy has reached its final stages.

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