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Nephropathy means your kidneys are not working well. The final stage of nephropathy is called kidney failure, end-stage renal disease, or ESRD.
Diabetes, both type 1 and type 2, is the most common cause of kidney disease. Type 1 is more likely to lead to ESRD.
There are 5 stages of diabetic nephropathy. The final stage is ESRD. Progress from one stage to the next can take many years.
Both high blood pressure and high blood sugar damage the kidneys.
Over years, as kidney disease develops, small amount of the blood protein albumin begin to show in your urine. This first stage of chronic kidney disease is called microalbuminuria. The kidneys are still able to filter waste during this stage.
As the disease worsens larger amounts of albumin leak into the urine. This stage may be called macroalbuminuria or proteinuria. As the amount increases, the kidneys' can’t cleanse the blood as well. Wastes are left in the blood. Blood pressure often rises as well.
Overall, kidney damage rarely occurs in the first 10 years of diabetes. Kidney failure usually occurs 15 to 25 years after the first symptoms of diabetes. If you have had diabetes for more than 25 years without any signs of kidney failure, your risk of developing it decreases.
If you have diabetes, it’s important to be checked regularly for kidney disease. To do this, your health care provider will monitor the waste products in your urine. You will also have blood tests. Your health care provider will test your urine to check for a protein called albumin. Normally, urine should not contain any albumin. Having even a small amount of albumin in your urine is a sign that early kidney damage is present.
If kidney disease is detected, your health care provider will address it as part of your diabetes treatment plan.
Specific treatment for diabetic nephropathy will be determined by your health care provider based on:
Treatment may include:
For ESRD, you will need dialysis to cleanse the blood. Dialysis is a process to filter the toxins out of the blood.
Eventually, kidney transplant may also be a consideration.
The progression of diabetic nephropathy can be slowed by closely managing diabetes. This includes taking medications to lower blood pressure.
For ESRD, you will need dialysis to cleanse the blood. Eventually, kidney transplant may also be a consideration.
Tips to help you get the most from a visit to your health care provider:
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