What is diabetic nephropathy?

Diabetic nephropathy is kidney disease that occurs in people who have diabetes. It affects about 20 to 30 percent of people with diabetes, according to some estimates, and is a common cause of kidney failure.

Your kidneys contain millions of tiny filtering units called nephrons that process protein from foods you consume, filtering the waste and excess water out into urine, and protein and red blood cells out into your bloodstream. In someone who has diabetes, high levels of blood sugar make the kidneys work extra hard to filter the blood. With time, the nephrons begin not to work as well and your kidneys leak protein (albumin) into the blood. This leakage can show up on a blood test, a result known as microalbuminuria.

Maintaining normal blood sugar levels as much as possible can help to prevent microalbuminuria and nephropathy.

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