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Diabetic Kidney Disease

Diabetes and kidney disease can often go hand-in-hand. If left unmanaged, kidneys can become severely damaged and even fail.



  • Approximately 1 of 3 adults with diabetes has chronic kidney disease. | CDC.gov
  • Diabetes accounts for 44% percent of new cases of kidney failure. | National Kidney Foundation
  • Every 24 hours, 160 people with diabetes begin treatment for kidney failure. | CDC.gov 

What is Diabetic Kidney Disease?  


Diabetes is a very common disease involving the body’s inability to make or utilize insulin appropriately. Our ability to produce or use our natural insulin can be affected in many ways. If this system is disrupted, the sugar level in our blood will rise, causing possible damage to organs over time and, in some cases, making us feel ill quickly if the sugars are high enough.

For this reason having diabetes puts patients at risk of other health problems, including heart attacks, strokes, vision loss, nerve damage, and kidney disease. While all of that may sound overwhelming, there is some good news; there are many steps a person with diabetes can take to prevent or significantly reduce the risk of having these complications.

How does diabetes cause kidney disease?  


Diabetes can cause damage to the filtration portion of the kidney, causing protein to spill into the urine. This is the first sign in many cases of diabetes damaging the kidney, and in a large number of patients this can ultimately lead to reduction or loss of kidney function. There may be no symptoms early on and so most primary care doctors will monitor urine studies for signs of involvement.

Every person with diabetic nephropathy is different in how they are affected by the disease, but we do know that in most people the right combination of diabetic medication, blood pressure control, and certain targeted therapies can help to reduce the risk of having damage to the kidney over time.

Symptoms of Diabetic Kidney Disease 


In the beginning of the disease, there are commonly no noticeable symptoms. However, as it evolves, patients may experience the following symptoms of diabetic kidney disease:


  • Swelling of feet

  • Foamy urine

  • Loss of sleep

  • Poor appetite

  • Upset stomach

  • Weakness

  • Difficulty Concentrating

When to See A Doctor 


It is very important that a kidney doctor is involved early in this process because prevention with the right medical strategy and patient-specific lifestyle modifications are they only way to prevent damage. Once significant kidney function is lost with diabetes it cannot be regained in almost all cases and in some cases dialysis may be required.

Our team of nephrologists are specialized in finding the right treatment strategy for you if you have diabetic kidney disease, and we work closely with your primary care doctor and endocrinologist to achieve this goal.


Glycemic Index
Diet Guide

Download Resource

American Diabetes Association

Go to Diabetes.org

American Heart Association 

Go to Heart.org

Managing Your Diet


Go to CDC.gov

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