What is Diabetic Nephropathy?
Diabetic nephropathy, also known as diabetic kidney disease (DKD), is kidney disease caused by diabetes (nephropathy refers to when your kidneys aren't working well.) Type-1 and type-2 diabetes are the most common causes of kidney disease.
There are five stages of DKD. The final stage is kidney failure (end-stage renal disease or ESRD). Going from one stage to the next can take place over many years. It is rare for kidney damage to happen within the first 10 years of diabetes. Kidney failure often happens 15 to 25 years after the first symptoms of diabetes.
At first, most people with DKD don't have symptoms. Checking your kidney function through blood test and/or urinalysis is the only way to detect problems.
UR Medicine's Treatments for Diabetic Nephropathy
If you have diabetes, it’s important to be checked regularly for kidney disease. Your healthcare provider will monitor your urine for a protein called albumin, which, if elevated, can be a sign of early kidney damage. Your blood creatinine level can also be tested to measure how well your kidneys are functioning.
Once kidney disease is detected, the management plan will be tailored to your specific clinical situation. Your provider will discuss potential management to slow the progression of kidney disease which may include:
- Lifestyle changes
- Change in diet
- Monitoring and controlling of blood sugar levels, often with medicine and insulin injections
- Potential therapies to lower blood pressure
- Stopping medication that can be harmful the kidneys
If your DKD worsens, it’s important to seek advice from a kidney specialist (nephrologist) about available options. In the event of kidney failure, your nephrologist will decide whether kidney replacement therapy, such as dialysis, is necessary. For some patients, a kidney transplant may also be a viable option.
What Sets Us Apart?
U.S. News & World Reports has identified us as one of the top adult nephrology (kidney) care centers in the country.
Our collaborative approach brings a wide range of expertise and diverse perspectives to patient care, with specialists in cardiology, endocrinology, rheumatology, transplant surgery, and urology working together to develop the best treatments for each patient.
Because we’re an academic medical center, our physicians also lead important research studies, with significant grants from the National Institutes of Health and industry-sponsored clinical trials.
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