Nephropathy is the name of Kidney Disease. Chronic Kidney Disease from mild disease up to and including Kidney Failure can be developed by all Diabetics, especially those who are poorly controlled.
When Glucose (sugar) circulates in the blood, it binds to proteins, making the proteins “sticky”. As these sticky molecules pass through the smaller blood vessels of the kidney, they can stick to the vessel walls, causing inflammation, leaking and collapsing. When this happens to the kidneys, the tiny Nephrons (tiny tubes the blood goes through in the kidney) become damaged and the kidneys lose the ability to filter toxins out of the blood.
The higher one allows their blood sugar to get, the more glucose in the blood, and the faster kidney disease will begin. And the problem is that Kidney Disease is a silent killer and will creep up on you if you are not watching for it. There is no obvious signs or symptoms until the disease is quite progressed. However, there are some screening tests that can be routinely done to watch for this.
If you are a Diabetic and you begin to start running a higher blood pressure, this can be an indicator you may be having some kidney issues. There is a simple urine dipstick test your doctor can order that will show if you are spilling a high amount of proteins or blood you can’t visibly see in your urine. (High protein levels in the urine is called “Hyperprotienuria”).
Another separate urine test is for the presence of “Microalbumin”, a type of protein that is not normally found in the kidneys unless there is damage; this urine test can pick up kidney disease earlier than looking for proteins in general.
A simple blood test can be done to look at Creatinine levels. A rising Creatinine level indicates the degree of Kidney Failure.
What can you do to prevent Kidney disease if you are a Diabetic?
First- Control your Blood Sugar. You need to keep you Blood Glucose A1C test at below 7. Check your blood sugar, and check it often. If you are consistently running high; see your Primary Care Provider (PCP).
Check your Blood Pressure frequently. It is recommended that Diabetics should stay below 130/80. If you are Diabetic and your Blood Pressure is rising, you need to see your PCP.
Have your Blood Creatinine and your Urine Microalbumin checked annually to make sure there levels are staying within normal limits; you must see your PCP for these tests.
Kidney disease is no fun. A final few years of life on Dialysis is not what one wants to do. Take care of your Kidneys. Take care of your Diabetes.