The Link between Diabetes and Kidney Diseases

The Link between Diabetes and Kidney Diseases
October 25 10:29 2019 by admin Print This Article

Diabetic Kidney Disease

Diabetic kidney disease is a type of kidney disease caused by diabetes. About 1 out of 3 adults with diabetes have kidney disease. To understand how diabetes affects the kidneys, one needs to understand both diseases separately and together.

What is Diabetes Mellitus?

Diabetes mellitus is a disease where the body is unable to either produce adequate amount of insulin or use the insulin that is produced. Insulin is a hormone that controls the amount of sugar present in the blood. A high blood sugar level can cause a number of critical health issues.

The two most common types of diabetes are type 1 (usually found in children) and type 2 (found in adults over 40).  About 30% of those with type 1 diabetes and up to 40% of those with type 2 diabetes will suffer from kidney diseases.

What is Kidney Disease?

The kidneys perform many crucial functions in our body.  They act as filters for our body by ridding the body of waste and toxic substances. They are also responsible for returning vitamins, amino acids, glucose, hormones, and other vital substances into the bloodstream They promote bone health, regulate blood pressure, and maintain overall fluid balance.

Kidney disease occurs when the kidneys get damaged and there is a gradual loss of kidney function. When the kidneys stop working properly, they can’t filter blood the way they should. This causes build-up of dangerous levels of fluid, electrolytes, and wastes in your body. As the toxins build-up, the patient’s energy level gradually decreases. Lethargy and delirium set in due to the high toxicity levels in the blood.

How does Diabetes Affect the Kidneys?

Diabetes is a chronic disease and needs to be managed lifelong with medication and a lifestyle modification. If it is not managed, it can cause complications in your body. One of the complications of diabetes is that it damages the blood vessels in the body.

If this happens to the blood vessels in the kidneys, they cannot perform their key function, which is to clean the blood and remove the waste from the body. Some of the consequences of the damaged blood vessels in the kidneys include:-


Since the blood vessels cannot filter and remove electrolytes, the body retains more water and salt than it should, leading to swelling in the joints.

Weight Gain

Since the body is unable to filter out waste and fluids, it can gather in the body, causing unusual weight gain.

Protein Build-up

Increased protein build-up in the body can cause constipation, diarrhoea, dehydration, and kidney damage.

Diabetic Neuropathy

Diabetes can also damage the nerves. This is called diabetic neuropathy, and if it affects the nerves in the urinary tract, it can lead to urological problems like difficulty in emptying the bladder. If the body cannot excrete its waste through the urinary tract, it can cause the bladder pressure to build up and cause kidney damage.

Another complication that occurs when there is difficulty in passing urine is a build-up of sugar content in the body. If the body is unable to get rid of this, toxicity builds up and the chance of an infection increases.

Symptoms of Kidney Disease among People with Diabetes

The most common symptoms of kidney problems include:

  • High levels of protein or albumen in the urine
  • Swelling of the ankles and/or legs and leg cramps
  • Frequent nighttime urination
  • High blood pressure
  • Bouts of nausea and vomiting, especially in the early mornings
  • Weakness, anaemia, and pale or sallow skin tone
  • Chronic itching in different parts of the body
  • High levels of creatinine and BUN (blood urea nitrogen)in the blood

Kidney damage by itself can give rise to many complications, and some of the above symptoms could be related to those complications. It is crucial that the diabetic consults a nephrologist to determine if the problem is a diabetes-related kidney disease or some other condition.

Sometimes, diabetic kidney diseases may develop and progress without any visible symptoms appearing until the condition is in an advanced stage. This is serious as it can lead to renal failure.Having regular health check-ups will show if there are kidney problems even if there are no noticeable external symptoms.

Tests to Check for Diabetes-related Kidney Disease

  • Serum creatinine test
  • BUN tests
  • Creatinine clearance
  • Glomerular filtration rate (GFR)
  • Urine albumin.

Preventing Kidney Disease in Diabetics

There is evidence that careful control of blood sugar levels helps to prevent kidney disease in people with diabetes. Following your doctor’s orders precisely regarding diet and medicines will help control your glucose levels.

If not controlled, it could lead to medical problems, like kidney disease.

Protect yourself from such potential problems by getting the right treatment at a hospital with a specialized Nephrology Center of Excellence where world-class doctors, medical technology, and treatment options are available.


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1 Comment

  1. healthfirstcenter
    October 27, 08:26 #1 healthfirstcenter

    this is a very useful article thanks for sharing this information it is a very useful site

    Reply to this comment

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