How Diabtes Damage Your Kidneys
If you have diabetes, you are at an increased risk of developing kidney disease. Kidney disease is also known as renal disease or nephropathy. Your kidneys may be affected within five to 10 years of your diagnosis with diabetes, with damage likely to occur for several years before it is detected.
The Progression of Renal Disease
- Experts are not sure of how the damage to your kidneys occurs. The kidneys are affected in many different ways when you have diabetes:
- Tiny blood vessels in your kidneys may become damaged.
- Small structures called nephrons, which filter wastes from your blood, thicken and develop scars.
- Lesions may develop.
- As a result of kidney damage, protein may accumulate in your blood stream. Over 70% of people who have diabetes develop protein in their urine, which is often the first sign of kidney disease.
- Your body’s ability to maintain a healthy balance of fluids may become hindered.
Your kidneys secrete hormones that help to control your blood pressure. If renal damage is not reversed and it worsens, your kidneys may not be able to work as well as they previously did and it may become harder to manage your blood pressure. Should this problem arise, the damage to your kidneys may continue to increase.
If the disease is not treated and it progresses, swelling of tissues, especially of the legs, and fatigue may occur. Headaches, vague feelings of not feeling well, nausea, or vomiting may occur. A decrease in appetite or itchy skin may arise.