Diabetic Nephropathy

Nephropathy, an impairment of the kidneys' ability to filter waste from the blood is the most common cause of kidney failure in diabetics.  Tiny blood vessels, called capillaries, become blocked and leaky.  Waste products and water remain in the blood.  Some of the necessary proteins and nutrients that should stay in the blood are lost into the urine.  A test can check for even small amounts of protein in the urine.  It is important to check the health of your kidneys to detect and prevent kidney failure

The most common symptoms of nephropathy are as follows:

Nephropathy is associated with renal failure.  A Nephrologist, a physician educated and trained in kidney diseases, kidney transplants and dialysis therapy can assist with renal failure and kidney malfunction.  Acute renal failure is the generic term used to define an abrupt decrease in renal function sufficient to result in retention of waste in the body.  This waste is unable to find an avenue to release itself from the body because the kidneys are no longer functioning.  This is when dialysis becomes an option.

To reduce your risk as a diabetic of contracting nephropathy is by controlling your blood sugar.  This can cut your risk in half.  Also, keep blood pressure at recommended levels (130/80).  You can talk with your health care professional about a class of drugs to aid in this called ACE inhibitors.  Control cholesterol levels, quit smoking, and have a urine protein check done once a year to help reduce your risk of kidney failure.  Finally, following a healthy diet of fruits, vegetables, and a moderate amount of meat and exercise will also aid in your quest for avoiding nephropathy.

Source: Takeda Pharmaceuticals North America, Inc.. : Eli Lilly and Company, 2002.

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