Overview of Diabetic Nephropathy

The disease or damage in kidney occurs due to diabetes is known as Diabetic Nephropathy or Diabetic Kidney Disease in some cases; it could lead to kidney failure as well. At the “Muljibhai Patel Urological Hospital (MPUH)” – Centre For Robotic Surgery (CRS), best urology hospital , we give world class treatments for various Urological Diseases. In terms of Diabetic Kidney Disease, treatment aims to prevent or delay the progression of the disease. It also helps in reducing the risk of developing cardiovascular diseases such as heart attack. All types of diabetes cause kidney disease and diabetes is also noted as the number one cause of Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD), where it causes damage to the tiny blood vessels in the kidney. So, it is important to manage diabetes and maintain healthy blood sugar levels within your body.

Causes of Diabetic Nephropathy

Each kidney is made thousands of small units called Nephrons. These tiny structures refine the blood and help to remove waste from the body. There are very high chances Diabetic Nephropathy, if you have diabetes with high blood pressure. It is recommended to regularly check about the blood sugar to check the level of diabetes. In some cases, a person’s family history may also play an important role for the onset of Diabetes. For reasons doctors don’t yet understand; only some people who have diabetes get kidney damage. For example, it is estimated that out of every 100 people with diabetes, as many as 40 will get kidney damage.

In this problem the nephron thickens and becomes scarred so kidney begins to leak and the protein passes through the urine. In many cases this problem is not observed in the early stages, thus damages already occur before getting to know about this disease. Generally smoking increases the level of blood pressure. So those who have diabetes and who smoke have higher chances to develop diabetic kidney disease.

In people with diabetes, Nephrons get thicken and slowly get scarred over time. Then the kidneys begin to leak and protein (albumin) passes into the urine. This damage can happen years before any symptoms are noticed. Though the exact cause is unknown, kidney damage is more likely if diabetes and high blood pressure remain untreated. Certain things make people more likely to get Diabetic Nephropathy. If you also have high blood pressure or high cholesterol, or if you smoke, your risk is higher.

Symptoms of Diabetic Nephropathy
If you are in later stage of diabetic nephropathy, then probably either one of both of your kidneys have stopped functioning. Then you either have to rely on dialysis or do kidney transplant.

As stated in our earlier articles, kidneys act as a water purifier. If the candles of water purifier don’t work properly, we do not come to know unless we taste the water. Similarly if the kidneys are damaged, but you cannot come to know about this disease unless you get the test in laboratory. Sometimes it takes around 5-7 years before starting of any symptoms.

Symptoms are not visible in the early stages in person suffering from Diabetes. The first sign of kidney damage is a small amount of protein in the urine, which is found by a simple urine test. So it is quite important to take regular urine tests to find out kidney damage at an early stage. Occasionally, early kidney damage can be treated and overturned.

If you are suffering from Diabetes, you should watch out symptoms such as, feeling fatigued most of the time, unusual headaches, nausea and vomiting, poor appetite, and swelling of the legs.

What does diabetes do to the kidneys?
Diabetes is also called slow death. It is one of the most dangerous diseases. It actually weakens your immunity power. With diabetes, the small blood vessels in the body get injured. When the blood vessels in the kidneys get injured, kidneys cannot refine your blood properly. Then the body will recall more water and salt than it usually should, which can result in weight gain and ankle swelling. This will lead to more protein in your urine and certain waste materials will build up in your blood, harm the nerves in the body, can create trouble in evacuating the bladder and the pressure ensuing from the full bladder can back up and damage the kidneys. Similarly, if urine remains in the bladder for a long time, it can develop into an infection from the speedy growth of bacteria in urine that has a high sugar level.

Treatment of Diabetic Nephropathy
Check your blood sugar level regularly. Especially if your family have the history of diabetes, after reaching a mature age – say around 45-50 you should be more aware and do regular checkups.

Once kidney damage is fixed in its early stages, it can be reduced with proper treatment. When higher amounts of protein seem in the urine, kidney damage will get worse. Keeping the blood pressure under control (under 130/80) is one of the best ways to reduce kidney damage.

A doctor may recommend medicines to reduce the blood pressure and protect the kidneys from more damage.  The key treatment is through medicines to lessen blood pressure and prevent or slow the harm to the kidneys.  It may require taking more than one medicine, especially when the patient has high blood pressure. Intake of low-fat diet, taking drugs to control blood cholesterol, and doing regular exercise can also help stop or slow kidney damage.

As it is said – prevention is better than cure – keeping blood sugar and blood pressure under control is the best way to avoid such disease.