Many of the 12 million people with diabetes in the United States will have kidney problems during their lifetime.
Having diabetes puts you at greater risk of developing chronic kidney disease. In fact, diabetic people are at a higher risk for developing kidney failure than the general population.
Studies show that after living 15 years with diabetes, at least 33 percent of insulin-dependent diabetics and 20 percent of non-insulin-dependent diabetics will have kidney disease that may progress to kidney failure.
If you think you have undiagnosed diabetes, see your doctor right away.
What is diabetic kidney disease?
Over time, diabetes can damage the filtering units and blood vessels within the kidneys. In some cases, kidney failure may occur.
Diabetic kidney disease can take many years to develop, and often the person does not know his/her kidneys are failing.
Other forms of kidney problems, such as infections, nephritis, or kidney stones, can be more serious in the diabetic person.
I am diabetic. What can I do to lower my risk of developing kidney disease?
Take care of urinary tract/kidney infections quickly. Symptoms for these may include:
• Frequent need to urinate
• Burning during urination
• Severe pain in abdomen or lower back
• Blood in the urine
• Headache, fever and chills
Control high blood pressure by cutting down on the salt in your diet, and taking blood pressure medications prescribed by your doctor.
Quit smoking. Click here for suggestions on how to quit.
Control your blood sugar levels.
Be aware of the following signs of advanced kidney failure:
• High blood pressure
What treatment options exist for kidney failure?
Treatment is available for people whose diabetes causes total kidney failure. There are three treatment options available:
Hemodialysis. This is the circulation of the patient's blood through an artificial kidney, which then removes waste and excel water from the body.
Peritoneal dialysis. A plastic tube is surgically placed through the patient's abdominal wall. Sterile fluid is run through this tube into the abdominal cavity. Waste and excess fluids pass from the blood vessels lining the cavity into the fluid. The fluid is then removed and replaced with new sterile fluid.
Transplantation. This involves transplanting a kidney from a close relative of the patient. Or the patient can receive a kidney and/or pancreas from someone who has died. Transplantation has several advantages, including increased independence and fewer kidney-related diet restrictions.
The method of treatment chosen by diabetic patients and their doctors depends on several factors:
• Other medical conditions
• Availability of suitable kidney donor
What are the results of treatment for kidney failure?
The success of treatment for diabetic kidney failure through dialysis and transplantation can vary.
Diabetes will continue to affect the eyes, heart, and other areas of the body. This may affect how you respond to treatment.
Therefore, your overall health will have a significant effect on the outcome of treatment. Often, once you are stabilized, you can continue to enjoy many of the same things you did before your diagnosis.