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Main > Kidney Disease > Diabetic Nephropathy
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Diabetic Nephropathy Basics

Generally speaking, kidney disease induced by Diabetes, called Diabetic Nephropathy, forms due to high blood sugar overworks the kidneys. How exactly? Diabetes is a group of metabolic diseases that affects systemic tiny blood vessels. How is this associated with kidney problems? Inside kidneys are millions of these tiny blood vessels that act as filters. Diabetes Mellitus damages the important filtering system and causes them failing to function well. Kidney disease attacks owing to years' damages.

High blood sugar levels destroy glomeruli (the so-called filters) over time and account for progressive kidney disease. Five stages of Diabetic Nephropathy are:

Stage 1: kidneys increase in size and accompanied with high filtration. It could be reversed as long as high level of sugar is controlled.

Stage 2: renal structure changes in this stage, glomerular basilar membrane thickens and at the same time, proteinuria attacks after intensive exercises. It usually requires more than five years to progress to stage 2.

Stage 3: persistent albuminuria forms along with declined kidney function, which occurs as diabetics suffer from the disease for 5 to 15 years. In stage 3, there still stands a chance to correct Diabetic Nephropathy if treated properly.

Stage 4: also called Clinical Diabetic Nephropathy. Massive loss of protein in urine (no less than 3.5g/day), edema and high blood pressure are three most typical symptoms. It is hard to reverse when one's illness condition progresses to stage 4.

Stage 5: dialysis and kidney transplantation may be needed to sustain the patients' lives since the medical condition has already progressed to ESRD or uremia.

Here are several risk factors that may help you educate yourself and then avoid the disease.

Genetic susceptibility

We have to admit that people with genetic susceptibility are more easily to get the disease or deteriorate.

Elevated blood pressure

It is believed that increased blood pressure is often accompanied with diabetes or high blood sugar.

Certain group of people

For example, Caucasians, African Americans or Mexican-Americans are prone to suffer from Diabetic Nephropathy.



To prevent kidney diseases, the following several points should be followed.

Intensive blood glucose control

It is proved that intensive blood glucose control as well as prompt treatment helps reduce the incidence of microalbuminuria by 39%.

Intensive blood pressure control

Apart from high blood sugar, high blood pressure also seriously affects one's illness condition development. Treatment of hypertension could dramatically reduce the risk of Diabetic Nephropathy.

Make certain lifestyle modification

Quit smoking if you happen to be a smoker, reduce the amount of alcohol if you drink a lot. Modifying those unhealthy living habits help a lot.

Family history

Pay extra attention to your health if you have a family history of Diabetes. Measure your blood sugar from time to time and do some real work to prevent it from happening.

The prognosis of Diabetic Nephropathy depends on not just how severity the kidney disease is, but also other complications coming from Diabetes.

Data collected reveals that cardiovascular diseases become the main cause in patients with DN. On average, death occurs 5 to 10 years after the start of persistent proteinuria.