Diabetes and kidney health

Diabetes can cause diabetic kidney disease (also called diabetic nephropathy), which can lead to kidney failure. There’s a lot you can do to take charge and prevent kidney problems. A recent study shows that controlling your blood glucose can prevent or delay the onset of kidney disease. Keeping your blood pressure under control is also important.

The kidneys keep the right amount of water in the body and help filter out harmful wastes. These wastes, called urea, then pass from the body in the urine. Diabetes can cause kidney disease by damaging the parts of the kidneys that filter out wastes. When the kidneys fail, a person has to have his or her blood filtered through a machine (a treatment called dialysis) several times a week or has to get a kidney transplant.

Taking Care of Your Kidneys

Your health care provider can learn how well your kidneys are working by testing for microalbumin (a protein) in the urine. Microalbumin in the urine is an early sign of diabetic kidney disease. You should have your urine checked for microalbumin every year.

Your health care provider can also do a yearly blood test to measure your kidney function. If the tests show microalbumin in the urine or if your kidney function isn’t normal, you’ll need to be checked more often.

On the records page, write down the dates and the results of these tests. Ask your health care provider to explain what the results mean.

Protecting Your Kidneys

Keep Your Blood Glucose under Control

High blood glucose can damage your kidneys as time goes by. Work with your health care team to keep your glucose levels as close to normal as you can.

Keep Your Blood Pressure In Balance

High blood pressure (or hypertension) can damage your kidneys. You may want to check your blood pressure at home to be sure it stays lower than 130/80. Have your health care provider check your blood pressure at least 4 times a year. Your doctor may have you take a blood pressure pill, called an ACE inhibitor, to help protect your kidneys.