Diabetic Kidney Disease

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Filed Under: Diabetes Complications, Blood Sugar
Last Reviewed 03/07/2014

Diabetic Kidney Disease

During the past decade, the prevalence of kidney disease has doubled—mainly because of the epidemic of diabetesOne-quarter to one-third of patients with diabetes go on to develop diabetic nephropathy, the leading cause of end-stage kidney disease.

How Diabetic Kidney Disease Develops

As blood flows through the microscopic blood vessels in the kidneys, waste products are filtered out to be excreted in the urine. Diabetes can damage the kidneys, causing this filtering system to fail.

Excess blood sugar damages the blood vessels in the nephrons—the parts of the kidneys that are responsible for filtering blood; returning blood cells, proteins, minerals and other vital constituents to circulation; and passing excess water and wastes into tubules that drain into the bladder.

At first, the useful proteins that are important to the body start getting filtered into the urine, and eventually the stress on the kidneys causes their filtering abilities to fail altogether. This causes waste products to build up in the blood, creating the need for kidney dialysis.

Compounding Diabetic Kidney Disease: Excessive Urination

Blood vessel damage isn’t the only damage caused by diabetes.

The situation is made even worse by the excessive urination that is one of the hallmark symptoms of diabetes. Many of the water-soluble antioxidants and other nutrients that naturally protect the kidneys against damage are lost in the urine.

Usually there are no chronic kidney disease symptoms until kidney function is drastically impaired. At this point, symptoms typically include fluid buildup, as well as loss of sleep, lack of appetite and weakness.

If you have diabetic kidney disease, you need to be followed by a type of doctor known as a nephrologist. However, when diabetic kidney disease is addressed early, it can be slowed and often reversed with natural therapies.

More Dr. Whitaker Advice on Diabetes Complications

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