Kidney disease: Nephropathy

Diabetic nephropathy is the name given to kidney damage caused by diabetes. It develops slowly over many years, and is also known as kidney disease. Diabetes, hypertension or a combination of both cause 80% of terminal nephropathy (which requires dialysis or a transplant to live) globally. This may be a worrying statistic, but there is much that can be done to reduce the risk of developing the complication. If detected early enough, the progression of diabetic nephropathy can be delayed. Kidneys are amazing organs. Inside them are millions of tiny blood vessels that act as filters. Its main task is to filter blood, removing excess fluids and waste products from the body through urine. High blood glucose (sugar) levels can damage small blood vessels and filters in the kidneys. As does high blood pressure.

When this happens, abnormal amounts of protein in the blood starts to filter through into the urine and this is often an early sign of kidney disease. Measurement of protein in urine (microalbuminuria) is recommended at least once a year in all people with diabetes.

What should I do if kidney disease is detected? If any change in kidney function is detected, it is recommended to address this early. This way it could be avoided or the progression thereof could be delayed.2

*Always talk to your doctor who can assist to find the right therapy for your diabetes management and to help prevent kidney disease.


  1. IDF DIABETES ATLAS. Ninth edition 2019.
23 April 2021

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