Diabetes and Kidney Failure

Approximately 44% of all new kidney failure cases are diabetics. Even when the diabetic is managing his disease, the disease can lead to kidney failure. Most diabetics do not develop Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD) that results in kidney failure, and of those who are diabetic and develop kidney disease, 180,000 of them live with the kidney damage that results from their diabetes without going into kidney failure.

Those diabetics who unfortunately go on to develop kidney failure will need to have dialysis, which is an artificial blood-cleaning procedure, or they receive a kidney transplant.

Other Causes

Diabetes is not the only cause of kidney failure cystic diseases account for 2.3% of the cases, urology diseases account for 2.0%, 26.8% is due to high blood pressure not associated with diabetes, and 7.6% is caused by Glomerulonephritis, there are 17.5% of other causes and the bulk of the causes, 43.8% of kidney failures result from diabetes.

Those individuals who are of African American, American Indian, or are Latinos typically develop diabetes, CKD, and kidney failure at a higher rate than Caucasians do for an unexplained reason.

It is unknown what factors lead to those with diabetes developing kidney disease but heredity, diet, and other medical conditions, such as having high blood pressure may contribute to the development of kidney disease in those with diabetes.

Kidney Disease a Long Term Process

Diabetic kidney disease does not happen overnight it takes many years for the damage to be done to the kidneys. Those who do develop kidney disease may experience small amounts of the blood protein albumin leakage in their urine, which may be discovered during urine testing.

As the kidney disease progresses higher amounts of albumin is detected in the urine as the kidney’s filtering function begins to decrease. The body will retain various waste products because of the failing filtration function of the kidneys due to the kidney damage. A common occurrence is as the kidney damage increases so does blood pressure.

Typically kidney damage will not appear in the first 10 years of being diabetic. Fifteen to twenty years may even pass before kidney damage shows up. Your risk of developing kidney damage decreases when you have had diabetes for 25 years or more without any detectable kidney damage.

Glomerular Filtration Rate

It is important that individuals who have diabetes be screened for chronic kidney disease on a regular basis by taking a test known as the eGFR, which stands for estimated glomerular filtration rate. The American Diabetes Association (ADA) suggests that all diabetics be screened for CKD with an eGRF test at least once a year.

Anyone who has Type 2 diabetes should be tested yearly with a urine albumin screening and those who have had Type 1 diabetes for at least 5 years should also be screened yearly.

Image of renal glomerulus by EM Unit/Royal Free Med. School, Wellcome Images, Creative Commons License.

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