Wednesday, June 15, 2022
HomeMust ReadHow Does Diabetes Affect The Kidneys

How Does Diabetes Affect The Kidneys


What Happens If I Have Kidney Disease

How Does Diabetes Affect Your Kidneys?

Your healthcare provider will create a special treatment plan for you. This may include taking medicines, limiting salt and certain foods, getting exercise, and more. You will also need regular checkups to monitor your kidney function. Having kidney disease or diabetes does not mean your kidneys will fail. Finding and treating it early can help keep kidney disease from getting worse.

More Information And Support About Kidney Disease

Talk with your diabetes team. They should be able to answer most of your questions. And were here to provide support and information when you need it too.

If you have more questions, or just want someone to listen, give our helpline a call. Youll be able to talk things through with highly trained advisors who have counselling skills and an extensive knowledge of diabetes.

The National Kidney Federation have kidney disease leaflets and can put you in touch with a local group. Kidney Care UK also offers resources and support including a telephone counselling service that you may find useful.


Kidney Research UK are dedicated to research into kidney disease. Weve been working together to identify the most important areas of future research, so that we can ultimately stop kidney disease in people with diabetes.

What Are Kidneys And What Do They Do

The kidneys are two bean-shaped organs, each about the size of a fist. Theyre located just below the rib cage against the back muscles, on the left and right sides of the body.

Kidneys have two very important functions: they help the body pass waste as urine, and they help filter blood before sending it back to the heart. They also:

  • Help maintain the balance of minerals and electrolytes in the body, such as calcium, sodium, and potassium
  • Play an essential role in the production of red blood cells
  • Help maintain the delicate acid-base balance of the blood

Also Check: Glucagon Hormone Sensitive Lipase

How Diabetic Kidney Disease Works

Spaghetti, anyone? The handy kitchen device known as a colander works by letting water pass through its tiny holes, leaving behind pasta or whatever food you’re straining. But what if the holes in a colander suddenly expanded to the size of, say, the pockets on a pool table? Obviously, the noodles would slip through easily, dropping into the sink and possibly down the drain. Result: You go hungry.


The nephrons in your kidneys are kind of like colanders, allowing very small waste particles to pass through but holding back proteins and other larger molecules, ushering them back into circulation. However, elevated blood sugar fouls up this process. Glucose reacts with proteins in the body to produce demon compounds called advanced glycosylation end products, or AGEs.

Over time, if blood sugar is not well controlled, AGEs accumulate on the walls of the blood vessels in the kidneys, which makes the nephrons’ filters too porous or leaky. As a result, protein molecules begin to slip through the kidneys’ filters and into the urine. This phenomenon is called proteinuria, though when it’s detected at an early stage doctors call it microalbuminuria .

Symptoms of advanced kidney failure may include

  • high blood pressure
  • swelling, especially around the eyes or ankles. Excess amounts of protein and salt in the urine cause water to pool in tissues. This may be accompanied by weight gain.
  • loss of appetite

General Approach Of Dm Treatment In Ckd

How Diabetes Affects Your Kidneys? Causes, Symptoms, Treatment

General considerations for the control of DM in CKD

Glycemic control is fundamental in the prevention and progression of complications associated with DM . Studies show that reducing HbA1c to values 7 % influences the reduction of microvascular complications caused by DM, and if implemented early, it is also associated with a reduced occurrence of macrovascular complications .

The goals proposed by the Brazilian Diabetes Society in 2013/2014 Guidelines recommend achievement of the following aims: fasting glucose < 100 mg/dL, preprandial glycemia < 130 mg/dL, postprandial glycemia 160 mg/dL , and HbA1c < 7 %. In 2015, The American Diabetes Association reinforced its proposal to keep HbA1c optimal values < 7 % for most diabetic adults . However, in recent years, the associations focused on the treatment of DM have systematically reviewed the optimal values of glycemia and HbA1c goals for diabetic patients, with the aim to define individualized objectives to prevent the onset of chronic complications, aiming also to reduce the occurrence of hypoglycemia.


In any case, most patients with advanced CKD need to use insulin for the safe and effective control of DM. However, for this to be achieved, a number of points should be discussed with the patient and the family:

Hypertension, dyslipidemia, and other microvascular complications in diabetic patients with CKD

Diabetic cardiovascular autonomic neuropathy

Diabetic genitourinary autonomic neuropathy

Also Check: Diabetic Getting Dizzy

How Diabetes Affects Your Kidneys

With diabetes being the leading cause of kidney disease, one may ask, how does diabetes affect your kidneys?

It is estimated that about a quarter of the people that have diabetes experience kidney disease. High blood sugar caused by diabetes can damage the blood vessels in the kidneys. The damage done to the blood vessels can lead to diabetic kidney disease. Over time, high blood sugar can cause the blood vessels to become narrowed and potentially blocked. Therefore, there is a lack of blood flow to the kidneys, leading to damage.

Another way diabetes affects your kidneys is through nerve damage. Nerves are essential for transmitting messages between the brain to other parts of the body, including the bladder. Your bladder will signal to the brain when the bladder is full. However, if nerves are damaged, then the signal will not reach your brain, and you may not feel that your bladder is full. When your bladder is continuously full, it can place pressure on your kidneys. The pressure placed on the kidneys can cause damage to them.


In addition to the pressure on the kidneys, a urinary tract infection is more likely to occur if ones bladder is full for too long. Bacteria will grow quickly in urine, especially if the urine has a high sugar level. The bacteria has the potential to affect the kidneys if it spreads.

How Is Diabetic Nephropathy Diagnosed

Certain blood tests that look for specific blood chemistry can be used to diagnose kidney damage. It also can be detected early by finding protein in the urine. Treatments are available that can help slow progression to kidney failure. That’s why you should have your urine tested every year if you have diabetes.

Also Check: Metformin Xr Side Effects

How Diabetes Causes Kidney Disease

Each kidney is made up of millions of tiny filters called nephrons. Over time, high blood sugar from diabetes can damage blood vessels in the kidneys as well as nephrons so they dont work as well as they should. Many people with diabetes also develop high blood pressure, which can damage kidneys too.

CKD takes a long time to develop and usually doesnt have any signs or symptoms in the early stages. You wont know you have CKD unless your doctor checks you for it.


Diabetes Is The Leading Cause Of Chronic Kidney Disease

How Does Diabetes Affect the Kidneys | Effect of Diabetes on Kidney Function

According to the Centers for Disease Control, over 17 million Americans have diabetes. Unfortunately, one-third does not realize they have the disease. Diabetes is the number one cause of chronic kidney disease . In 1999, almost 44% of patients who needed dialysis had diabetes as the underlying cause for their kidney disease. The numbers continue to rise today.

How diabetes damages the kidneys

Diabetes is a disease that affects the bodys ability to produce or use insulin. When the body turns the food eaten into energy , insulin is used to move this sugar into the cells. If someone produces little or no insulin, or if the body cannot use the insulin , the sugar remains in the bloodstream instead of going into the cells. Over time, high levels of sugar in the blood damage tiny blood vessels throughout the body including the filters of the kidneys. As more damage occurs to the kidneys, more fluid and waste remain in the bloodstream instead of being removed.

Symptoms of diabetes

The American Diabetes Association lists the symptoms of diabetes as:

  • Frequent urination
  • Blurry vision

Lack of an early diagnosis compounds the problem

Type 1 diabetes is typically diagnosed early because its symptoms are severe and rapid. A treatment plan can then be put in place and continued. Unfortunately, Type 2 diabetes often goes undiagnosed for many years because early symptoms are not severe.

Obesity is on the rise

High blood pressure can accompany Type 2 diabetes

Read Also: Insulin Secretion By A Beta Cell In The Pancreas


Kidney Failure Or End Stage Renal Disease

Its important for diabetics to get tested and stay aware of how their kidneys are doing since there are no symptoms at the beginning. But its also very important to be aware of the effects of kidney failure as it progresses.

As your kidneys worsen, your blood urea nitrogen levels and creatinine levels will rise. You might need less insulin because your diseased kidneys break down less insulin. The following are potential signs of worsened kidney disease in patients with diabetes:

  • Albumin/protein in the urine
  • Ankle and leg swelling, leg cramps
  • Headaches
  • Swelling of the face or belly
  • Less need for insulin or antidiabetic medications
  • Morning sickness, nausea and vomiting
  • Weakness, paleness and anemia
  • Going to the bathroom more often at night
  • Itching
  • High levels of BUN and creatinine in blood
  • High blood pressure

If you have any of these its recommended to call your healthcare provider. He or she will guide your treatment process. Some treatments for kidney failure include:

  • Hemodialysis
  • Kidney transplant

What Are The Early Signs Of Kidney Disease In Patients With Diabetes

The earliest sign of diabetic kidney disease is an increased excretion of albumin in the urine. This is present long before the usual tests done in your doctor’s office show evidence of kidney disease, so it is important for you to have this test on a yearly basis. Weight gain and ankle swelling may occur. You will use the bathroom more at night. Your blood pressure may get too high. As a person with diabetes, you should have your blood, urine and blood pressure checked at least once a year. This will lead to better control of your disease and early treatment of high blood pressure and kidney disease. Maintaining control of your diabetes can lower your risk of developing severe kidney disease.

Read Also: Side Effect To Metformin


What Does Diabetes Do To The Kidneys

With diabetes, the small blood vessels in the body are injured. When the blood vessels in the kidneys are injured, your kidneys cannot clean your blood properly. Your body will retain more water and salt than it should, which can result in weight gain and ankle swelling. You may have protein in your urine. Also, waste materials will build up in your blood.

Diabetes also may cause damage to nerves in your body. This can cause difficulty in emptying your bladder. The pressure resulting from your full bladder can back up and injure the kidneys. Also, if urine remains in your bladder for a long time, you can develop an infection from the rapid growth of bacteria in urine that has a high sugar level.

Symptoms Of Kidney Disease

Kidney Disease and Diabetes

You may not have visible symptoms in the early stages of kidney disease. This is why it’s so important to have the tests for kidney disease every year, as it can be spotted early and slowed down with treatment. If kidney disease progresses, you could notice symptoms like:

  • swollen ankles, feet and hands
  • blood in your pee
  • feeling really tired
  • being short of breath
  • feeling sick.

You may be feeling like this because your kidneys are struggling to clear extra fluid and waste from your body. But these symptoms can also be caused by other conditions, so its important to talk to your doctor for more information and advice.

Read Also: Normal Dose Of Metformin


Treatment Of Diabetic Nephropathy

There are no permanent fixes for diabetic nephropathy, but there are ways through which you can bring your blood sugar levels down in order to decrease the inflammation of your kidneys. If the state of your kidneys keeps getting progressively worse and you reach End-Stage Renal Disease then the doctors might suggest more invasive treatments like dialysis. Here are some ways to treat Nephropathy:

You Can Help Maintain The Health Of Your Kidneys By Simply:

Drinking plenty of water

Staying hydrated, particularly during hot weather or when exercising , is key to ensuring your kidneys function properly.

Eating healthily

Eating a healthy, balanced diet i.e. one that has a balance of fats, proteins, and carbohydrates will ensure your body gets all the vitamins and minerals it needs.

Limit salt/sugar consumption and try and stay clear of foods that are high in saturated fat

Limit alcohol intake and avoid smoking

Drinking a lot of alcohol and smoking puts extra pressure on your kidneys as they have to work harder to remove toxins from your blood.


This is one of the many reasons why its recommended that you avoid smoking and limit your alcohol consumption to two small drinks a day .

Keep an eye on blood pressure

Rising blood pressure , which is often linked to being overweight/ obesity , can increase your risk of kidney disease. There is often no clear cause of high blood pressure , which is why it is important to have your blood pressure checked regularly ideally about once a year. This can be done free of charge at your GP surgery.

You May Like: What Sugar Level Is Too High

How Are The Kidneys Kept Working As Long As Possible

The kidney doctor, called a nephrologist, will plan your treatment with you, your family and your dietitian. Two things to keep in mind for keeping your kidneys healthy are controlling high blood pressure in conjunction with an ACE inhibitor and following your renal diabetic diet. Restricting protein in your diet also might be helpful. You and your dietitian can plan your diet together.

Why Does Diabetes Affect The Circulation In The Feet

How can Diabetes affect your Kidneys? | National Kidney Foundation

The Diabetes Forum – find support, ask questions and share your experiences with 250,009 people. Join the Forum A In people with diabetes, if high blood glucose levels are experienced over a period of years, our blood vessels can become damaged which can lead to plaque forming in the blood vessels rendering them unable to deliver a sufficient amount of blood to neighbouring cells. The NHS states that after taking regular exercise for 6 months, people have with peripheral arterial disease have been able to improve their ABPI score by 20%, therefore showing considerable improvement in circulation. There are higher risks of serious foot damage for people with diabetes and poor circulation. Poor circulation can mean wounds heal slowly and so injuries have a higher chance of becoming infected or developing a foot ulcer.Continue reading > >


Recommended Reading: Maximum Dose Metformin

Dont Let Stress Get You Down

Managing diabetes mellitus isnt always easy. Feeling stressed, sad, or helpless is fairly common when you are living with diabetes. Since long-term stress can raise your blood glucose and blood pressure both, you can learn ways to de-stress. Deep breathing, meditation, yoga, gardening, taking a walk, listening to your favorite music, are all helpful examples of activities that can reduce stress.

Vi Outlook And Future Perspectives

Tight metabolic and antihypertensive controls remain cornerstone interventions in the treatment of micro- and macrovascular complications in type 1 and type 2 diabetes. However, vascular diabetic complications, including diabetic nephropathy, remain a huge clinical problem despite implementation of overall intensified glycemic and antihypertensive control in these patients. Accordingly, there is an ongoing need for development of new therapeutic strategies in the treatment of kidney disease, which may imply that combined intervention is required toward various pathways of importance in the development of diabetic nephropathy.

Recommended Reading: Can You Be Born With Type 2 Diabetes

What Else Can I Do To Protect My Eyes Heart Nerves Feet And Kidneys From Diabetes

Work with your healthcare team to develop a treatment plan that helps you manage diabetes.


  • Get regular exercise.
  • Lose weight, if you need to.
  • Eat healthy foods and follow your diabetes meal plan.
  • Take all your medicines as instructed by your healthcare provider.
  • Get regular checkups for your eyes.
  • Get regular checkups for your feet. Be sure to wear shoes that fit properly and check your feet every day for injuries, blisters, or redness.
  • If you smoke, ask your healthcare provider about a plan to help you quit.

Dietary And Lifestyle Changes

Wellness Tips: How Does Diabetes Affect Kidney Health?

Diabetes is either a consequence of or symptomatic of obesity. Thankfully weight reduction is one option that drastically changes your health for good if you have diabetes. With the right dietary restrictions and workout regime, you can take little steps towards damage control. If you are confused about your dietary plans, then you must consider taking help from a dietician. He will get you a perfect diet chart keeping your medical history and body requirements in mind.

You May Like: Diabetes Articles 2016

What Are The Symptoms Of Diabetic Nephropathy

There are often no symptoms with early diabetic nephropathy. As the kidney function worsens, symptoms may include:

  • Swelling of the hands, feet, and face
  • Trouble sleeping or concentrating
  • Muscle twitching

As kidney damage progresses, your kidneys cannot remove the waste from your blood. The waste then builds up in your body and can reach poisonous levels, a condition known as uremia. People with uremia are often confused and occasionally become comatose.


RELATED ARTICLES

Popular Articles