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For people with diabetes, excess sugar in their blood damages the kidneys’ ability to filter waste. If you have diabetes, this waste builds up in your blood, making you sick.
Kidney disease occurs very slowly, so you may not experience any symptoms early on. As the disease progresses, signs may include:
If you have diabetes, you should talk to your doctor about getting your urine checked for albumin once a year. Albumin is a blood protein. A high level in your urine can indicate kidney disease.
Here’s the good news: Kidney disease can be managed with careful monitoring, medications and lifestyle changes. According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), some of these lifestyle changes include:
There’s a reason why people have referred to diabetes as a multi-organ disease. Along with affecting the pancreas, diabetes can harm many other organs – including the eyes and nerves – if mismanaged.
Diabetes raises the risk for a number of conditions. One of the most serious is kidney disease. Diabetes is the primary cause of kidney failure in 44 percent of all new cases.
If kidney disease grows worse over time, it can lead to kidney failure. Individuals with kidney failure have less than 15 percent normal kidney function. This leads to the build-up of waste products and extra water in the body. End-stage renal disease (ESRD) is kidney failure that needs to be treated by dialysis or kidney transplantation. Fortunately, with proper care and lifestyle changes, fewer than 10 percent of people with diabetes develop kidney failure.
Originally published 3/9/2017; Revised 2021, 2022
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