Diabetes Nephropathy - Blocked Blood Vessels in Your Kidney

What is diabetes nephropathy?

Diabetes nephropathy is a condition that leads to kidney disease which means that the small blood vessels (capillaries) of the kidneys responsible for removing or filtering waste from the blood are blocked or damaged. Diabetes is the most common cause for diabetic nephropathy.

When we consume various foods, the body breaks it down into proteins and as a result of this process, waste products develop and are present in the blood. These waste products have to be removed from the blood before other medical issues can occur.

The kidneys act as the filtering system for the body by filtering the waste through the capillaries or small blood vessels.

These blood vessels have very tiny holes that allow only the waste particles to pass through and enter into the urine, so that they can be excreted from the body.

Diabetes nephropathy can cause considerable damage to this filtration system.

Therefore care must be taken when it comes to maintaining healthy kidney functions. When you have diabetes, the constant high level of blood glucose will force your kidneys to filter too much blood at any given time. Hence because of the extra work that the blood vessels must do, they will eventually become damaged and begin to leak after a few years.

This condition leads to what is known as diabetes kidney disease or diabetic nephropathy. This leads to the leakage of the blood protein Albumin into the urine. When you have small amounts of this protein in your blood, it is known medically as microalbuminuria.

Treatment for diabetic nephropathy

Providing that your kidney disease or nephropathy (during microalbuminuria) is diagnosed early, there are several treatments that may prevent it from progressing further. These treatments involve:

  • Lowering your high blood pressure
  • Proper monitoring of your blood glucose (keeping it under control). These two alone, are extremely important if you are going to slow the progression of this diabetes condition.
  • Taking Angiotensin Converting Enzyme or ACE inhibitors. These can also slow the progression of diabetes kidney disease.

Although some ACE inhibitors such as Altace, Lotensin, and Capoten are usually used in the treatment of high blood pressure and other medical issues, they are often prescribed by doctors to individuals that have diabetes. These inhibitors help them prevent many serious complications that can occur as result of them having diabetes.

More extreme measures of treatment

Unfortunately if your diabetes nephropathy goes untreated during the first stage (microalbuminuria), it will continue to get worst; thus, causing larger amounts of the protein albumin to leak into your urine. This particular stage is known medically as macroalbuminuria or end stage renal disease (ESRD).

sadly there are only two possible treatments at this stage of diabetes nephropathy or kidney disease. They are:

  • Dialysis
  • Kidney transplant

As the progression of diabetes nephropathy worsen, your kidneys will reach a point of total failure. This means that they can no longer function normally to remove the waste from your blood. When this happens, the waste products in your blood builds up and can lead to levels that can prove very poisonous to your body.

This condition is medically known as Uremia. Uremia often causes confusion or a comatose state in individuals that have been diagnosed with diabetes. If you as a diabetic individual, also suffers from high blood pressure or hypertension, your uremia will get worst.

There are often no symptoms for early stages of diabetic nephropathy. However the detection of this condition is often determined by the presents of the blood protein albumin in the urine. Therefore if you have diabetes and high blood pressure, have your urine tested at least once a year.

Conditions that may cause the present of albumin in your urine

It is not a normal thing for you to have this protein product present in your urine but it can be present due to:

  • High Fever
  • Strenuous Exercises
  • Pregnancy
  • Infections

Kidney disease or diabetes nephropathy will usually take up to five to ten years to develop in individuals that have type 1 diabetes. For individuals that have been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, the urine test may revealed small amounts of the albumin protein present which may have been leaking through for sometime.

This can be because they may have had diabetes for years without knowing it.

Symptoms that can cause your doctor to test for diabetic nephropathy

Earlier I mentioned that there are often no symptoms for early diabetes nephropathy or kidney disease but there are some symptoms that may cause your doctor/s to test for it.

These symptoms include:

  • Swollen hands, feet, and face
  • Weight Gain
  • Dry skin that leads to itching (normally end-stage kidney disease)
  • Always drowsy (normally the end-stage of the disease)
  • Although rare, the present of blood in the urine
  • Abnormalities in the rhythm of the heart which is caused by the present of potassium in the blood.

  • Twitching of your muscles
  • Protein leaking into the urine
  • Increase levels of cholesterol and triglycerides

Proper management of your diabetes involves keeping your blood pressure and blood glucose under control because the disease diabetes, is a major contributing factor in the development of diabetes nephropathy.

Diabetes nephropathy is a medical term for kidney disease!

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