Diabetic nephropathy

Alternative Names

Kimmelstiel-Wilson disease; Diabetic glomerulosclerosis; Nephropathy – diabetic

Definition of Diabetic nephropathy

Diabetic nephropathy is kidney disease or damage that results as a complication of .

Causes, incidence, and risk factors

The exact cause of diabetic nephropathy is unknown, but it is believed that uncontrolled high blood sugar leads to the development of kidney damage, especially when high blood pressure is also present. In some cases, your genes or family history may also play a role. Not all persons with diabetes develop this condition.

Symptoms

Early stage diabetic nephropathy has no symptoms. Over time, the kidney’s ability to function starts to decline. Symptoms develop late in the disease and may include:

Signs and tests

The main sign of diabetic nephropathy is persistent protein in the urine. (Protein may appear in the urine for 5 to 10 years before other symptoms develop.) If your doctor thinks you might have this condition, a microalbuminuria test will be done. A positive test often means you have at least some damage to the kidney from diabetes. Damage at this stage may be reversible. The test results can be high for other reasons, so it needs to be repeated for confirmation.

Treatment

The goals of treatment are to keep the kidney disease from getting worse and prevent complications. This involves keeping your blood pressure under control (under 130/80). Controlling high blood pressure is the most effective way of slowing kidney damage from diabetic nephropathy.

Expectations (prognosis)

Nephropathy is a major cause of sickness and death in persons with diabetes. It is the leading cause of long-term kidney failure and end-stage kidney disease in the United States, and often leads to the need for dialysis or kidney transplantation.

Review

Charles Silberberg, DO, Private Practice specializing in Nephrology, Affiliated with New York Medical College, Division of Nephrology, Valhalla, NY. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc. – 6/1/2010

Male urinary system
Pancreas and kidneys
Diabetic nephropathy

ADAM Medical Encyclopedia

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