Diabetic nephropathy is a serious kidney-related complication of type 1 diabetes and type 2 diabetes. It is also called diabetic kidney disease. Up to 40 percent of people with diabetes eventually develop kidney disease.

Diabetic nephropathy affects the ability of your kidneys to do their usual work of removing waste products and extra fluid from your body. The best way to prevent or delay diabetic nephropathy is by maintaining a healthy lifestyle and treating your diabetes and high blood pressure.

Over many years, the condition slowly damages your kidneys' delicate filtering system. Early treatment may prevent or slow disease progression and reduce the chance of complications.

Your kidney disease may progress to kidney failure, also called end-stage kidney disease. Kidney failure is a life-threatening condition. At this stage your treatment options are dialysis or a kidney transplant.

Symptoms

In the early stages of diabetic nephropathy, you may not notice any signs or symptoms. In later stages, the signs and symptoms include:

  • Worsening blood pressure control
  • Protein in the urine
  • Swelling of feet, ankles, hands or eyes
  • Increased need to urinate
  • Less need for insulin or diabetes medicine
  • Confusion or difficulty concentrating
  • Loss of appetite
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Persistent itching
  • Fatigue

Information obtained from the Mayo Clinic website.

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