D iabetic nephropathy or diabetic kidney disease is a complication of type 1 or type 2 diabetes caused by damage to the kidneys’ delicate filtering system. The kidneys have many minuscule blood vessels whose job is to filter waste from the blood. These blood vessels are destroyed as a result of high blood sugar from diabetes. Eventually, the kidney is unable to do its job well, resulting in its stopping work completely. This is known as kidney failure or irreversible end-stage kidney disease, necessitating dialysis or a kidney transplant.
Up to 40% of people diagnosed with type 1 diabetes ultimately cultivate serious kidney disease, which may require dialysis or a kidney transplant. From all type 2 diabetes patients, only four to six percent end up requiring dialysis, although about 20% to 30% of type 2 diabetics will develop at least some kidney damage.
In the early stage, diabetic nephropathy often has no visible symptoms. Symptoms may take 5 to 10 years to manifest after the kidney damage sets in. These symptoms include excessive fatigue, headaches, an overall feeling of illness, nausea, vomiting, lack of appetite, scratchy skin and leg swelling.
Since symptoms do not appear early on it is imperative to have regular urine tests to detect kidney damage so treatment can be started. Kidney disease cannot be reversed once the damage is done. This is a progressive disease, meaning it continues to get worse. However, control of good blood sugar, blood pressure and reducing the protein intake in your diet may also slow progressing kidney disease. Smoking should be avoided.