In the United States, more than 100,000 people are diagnosed with kidney failure and about half of them are due to diabetes. People with diabetes are at a higher risk for kidney damage especially if the blood sugars are not well controlled. When you have diabetic nephropathy, you will lose the ability to filter the toxins in your body. In early stages of diabetic nephropathy, you may not have any symptoms. In some patients, diabetic nephropathy can eventually cause kidneys to stop working altogether and may need to go on dialysis.
Who is at risk for diabetic nephropathy?
Long-standing, uncontrolled blood sugars
Being overweight or obese
African American’s, Hispanic and American Indians
If you already have other diabetes related complications like neuropathy, retinopathy, etc.
How is diabetic nephropathy diagnosed?
Diabetic kidney disease may take years to develop. Generally kidney damage is rare in the first 10 years of diabetes. If you are living with the diabetes for more than 30 years without any signs of kidney failure, the risk of developing kidney failure is very low. However, anyone with type 1 diabetes for more than 5 years and all people with type 2 diabetes should have urine test done every year.
There are 2 ways to check for diabetic kidney disease-
Urine albumin. Your health care provider will check for protein in the urine called albumin. As the kidney disease progresses, more albumin leaks into the urine. Kidney disease is present when urine contains more than 30 mg of albumin program of creatinine.
eGFR stands for estimated glomerular filtration rate. The kidney has filters called glomeruli. By estimating how much blood glomeruli filter in a minute will give us an idea how well the kidneys are functioning. If your eGFR is less than 60 mL/minute, that means you have kidney disease.