November 8


Diabetic Kidney Disease – Signs, Risk Factors and How to Prevent It

By Gabriela

November 8, 2022

The job of our kidneys is to filter wasted and additional water out of the blood in order to make urine. Also, our kidneys control blood pressure and produce hormones that our body needs in order to be healthy.

When the kidneys are damaged, they aren’t able to filter blood correctly. This might lead to the building up of wastes in the body, and this type of damage can also lead to other health issues.

On the other hand, kidney damage due to diabetes happens slowly over the years. Read on to find out more about diabetic kidney disease.

Diabetic Kidney Disease

Diabetic kidney disease also known by the name diabetic nephropathy is actually a complication that happens in those who have diabetes. Here the kidneys’ filters called glomeruli are damaged.

Due to this the kidneys actually leak uncommon amounts of protein into the urine. The protein which leaks out from the kidneys is known by the name albumin. As a matter of fact, in healthy kidneys, just a small amount of this protein is present in the urine.

Increased level of this protein in the urine is a common first sign of diabetic nephropathy. People should know that this condition is actually divided into 2 categories, depending on how much protein is lost through the kidneys:


In this category, the amount of protein that leaks into the urine is more than 300 mg on a daily basis. This category is also known by the name of nephropathy or macroalbuminuria.


In this category, the amount of protein that leaks into the urine is between 30 and 300 mg on a daily basis. This category is also known by the name incipient nephropathy.

Other Names for Diabetic Kidney Disease

People should know that diabetic kidney disease is also known by the name DKD, diabetic nephropathy, chronic kidney disease, and kidney disease of diabetes.

Increased Chances of Having Diabetic Kidney Disease

People should know that having diabetes for a long period of time actually raises the chances of experiencing kidney damage. In case one has diabetes, they’re more likely to have kidney disease if their blood pressure is too high, or their blood glucose is too high.

Also, Latinos/Hispanics, African Americans, and American Indians have kidney failure, diabetes, and diabetes disease at a higher rate. This is in comparison to Caucasians.

There is a higher chance of experiencing kidney disease in case one has diabetes and they

  • Have a family history of kidney failure;
  • Smoke;
  • Consume foods high in salt;
  • Are overweight;
  • Aren’t active;
  • Don’t follow the diabetes eating plan;
  • Have heart disease.

Signs of Diabetic Kidney Disease

It is very unlikely to have signed with early kidney disease due to diabetes, for instance, in case we have microalbuminuria. Signs tend to show when the condition progresses.

At first, the signs tend to be nonspecific and vague, like not feeling well, feeling tired, and having less energy than people usually have.

With more serious kidney disease, signs that might develop are:

  • Nausea – feeling sick;
  • Difficulty thinking clearly;
  • Itchy and dry skin;
  • Poor appetite;
  • Weight loss;
  • Puffy eyes;
  • Muscle cramps;
  • Being pale because of anemia;
  • Increased urination;
  • Fluid retention leads to ankles and swollen feet.

How to Keep Our Kidneys Healthy If We Have Diabetes

The best way to prevent and slow kidney disease related to diabetes is to try to achieve our blood pressure and blood sugar goals.

People should bear in mind that taking their drugs as prescribed and having healthy lifestyle habits can help them reach their goals and improve their overall health.


  • Gabriela

    Co-Founder & Editor-in-Chief of Diabetes Health Page, Fitness trainer and instructor has dedicated her career to educating and informing people for over 10 years. As one of the most passionate diabetes advocates, Gabi has worked tirelessly to ensure that those people receive the education and support they need to properly manage their diabetes and achieve their health, fitness and weight loss goals.

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