Kidneys are responsible for cleaning wastes from the blood. In the kidneys, millions of tiny blood vessels (capillaries) with even tinier holes in them act as filters. These waste products become part of the urine. Useful substances, such as protein and red blood cells, are too big to pass through the holes in the filter and stay in the blood.
Diabetes can damage this filtering mechanism, the nephrons (filtering units of the kidney) become leaky and useful protein is lost in the urine. Having small amounts of proteins in the urine is called microalbuminuria.
Who is at high risk:
Not everyone with diabetes develops kidney disease. Factors that can influence kidney disease development include:
- Blood glucose control
- Blood pressure.
What are the symptoms:
The symptoms include:
- Frequent Urination
- Elevated Blood pressure
- Swelling of legs
- Puffiness around the eyes
- Unexplained hypoglycemia
- Weight gain
- Foamy appearance or excessive frothing of the urine
- Blood in the urine
- Less need of insulin/oral antidiabetic pills.
The kidneys work hard to make up for the failing mechanism so kidney disease produces no symptoms until almost all function is gone. Other symptoms of kidney disease include loss of sleep, poor appetite, upset stomach, weakness, and difficulty concentrating.
Can you prevent Kidney disease?
Diabetic kidney disease can be prevented by keeping blood glucose in your target range. Research has shown that tight blood glucose control reduces the risk of microalbuminuria by one third. In people who already had microalbuminuria, the risk of progressing to microalbuminuria was cut in half. Other studies have suggested that tight control can reverse microalbuminuria.
If not managed well, the stress of overwork causes the kidneys to lose their filtering ability. Waste products then start to build up in the blood. Finally, the kidneys fail. This failure, end-stage renal disease (ESRD), is very serious. A person with ESRD needs to have a kidney transplant or to have the blood filtered by a machine (dialysis).