Diabetic Nephropathy: Causes, Symptoms and Precautions you should take

Diabetic nephropathy is a very serious life-threatening complication caused due to diabetes mellitus. It occurs when the kidneys become damaged due to high blood sugar levels over an extended period.

Diabetic nephropathy is the most common cause of end-stage renal disease also called (ESRD) worldwide. It is estimated that around one-third of total patients with diabetes develop diabetic nephropathy problems and issues.

The condition primarily affects individuals with type 1 and type 2 diabetes. Kidney functioning becomes difficult and is reduced over time as a result of damage to kidney blood vessels brought on by the elevated blood sugar levels with diabetes.

Causes of Diabetic Nephropathy and Risk Factors associated

The primary factors that contribute to the development of diabetic nephropathy include chronic hyperglycemia, hypertension (high blood pressure), and genetic predisposition. There are additional risk factors too which are smoking, obesity, high cholesterol levels, and a family history of kidney disease.

Individuals with diabetes must manage kidney-related issues and factors effectively to reduce the likelihood of developing diabetic nephropathy.

Symptoms and Progression

In the early stages, diabetic nephropathy may not exhibit noticeable symptoms. As the condition progresses, symptoms may include persistent fatigue, swelling in the ankles and feet, increased need to urinate, foamy urine, and high blood pressure. Regular monitoring of kidney function through blood and urine tests is crucial for detecting diabetic nephropathy in its early stages.

Diagnostic Procedures

To diagnose diabetic nephropathy, healthcare professionals may perform a series of tests, including blood tests to assess kidney function (such as serum creatinine and estimated glomerular filtration rate) and urine tests to detect the presence of proteins (such as albumin-to-creatinine ratio). These tests help determine the severity of kidney damage and guide treatment decisions.

How to maintain kidney health when diagnosed with Diabetic Nephropathy

  • -Blood Sugar Control: Maintaining tight control over blood sugar levels is crucial in managing and preventing the progression of diabetic nephropathy. Individuals should work closely with their healthcare team to develop a personalized diabetes management plan, which may include regular monitoring, dietary modifications, exercise, and medication as needed..
  • -Blood Pressure Management: Controlling hypertension is vital to preserve kidney function. Lifestyle modifications such as adopting a low-sodium diet, regular exercise, stress management, and limiting alcohol consumption can help reduce blood pressure levels. Medications, including angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors or angiotensin receptor blockers (ARBs), may also be prescribed.
  • -Medications and Interventions: In some cases, medications such as diuretics or medications to lower cholesterol may be prescribed to manage specific symptoms or risk factors associated with diabetic nephropathy. In advanced stages, interventions like dialysis or kidney transplantation may be necessary.
  • -Lifestyle Modifications: Adopting a healthy lifestyle is essential in managing diabetic nephropathy. This includes maintaining a balanced diet, limiting salt and protein intake, quitting smoking, regular exercise, and maintaining a healthy weight. These lifestyle changes can help control blood sugar levels, blood pressure, and overall well-being.
  • -Regular Monitoring and Follow-Up: Regular follow-up visits with healthcare professionals are necessary for individuals with diabetic nephropathy. Routine blood and urine tests are essential to monitor kidney function, blood sugar levels, and blood pressure. These visits also allow for adjustments in the management plan based on the individual's response to treatment.


Diabetic nephropathy is a severe complication of diabetes that can significantly impact an individual's quality of life. However, with effective management strategies, individuals can slow down the progression of the disease and preserve kidney function. By maintaining tight blood sugar control, managing blood pressure, and adopting a healthy lifestyle, individuals with diabetic nephropathy can lead fulfilling lives while minimizing the risks associated with this condition. Seeking timely medical advice and adhering to the recommended treatment plan are vital for optimal management of diabetic nephropathy. People with diabetes must get their diagnosis done for Diabetic Nephropathy and Kidney Problems from a top nephrologist.

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