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What tests can tell if my kidneys have been damaged by diabetes?

Because kidney damage can occur for years without symptoms, the best way to learn whether you have kidney problems is to have a sample of your urine checked once a year. This test, called a microalbumin test, can show whether your kidneys are leaking protein (also called albumin).

It's best to have this test when you're first diagnosed with type 2 diabetes and then once every year. Many people have protein in their urine when they're first diagnosed with type 2 diabetes or soon afterward because they may have had diabetes for years before it was detected. If diabetes is present, even if it hasn't been diagnosed, damage from high blood glucose levels can occur. If you have type 1 diabetes, you're unlikely to have kidney damage at diagnosis. But you'll need this test 5 years after diagnosis and every year after that.

A urine test for albumin and a blood test for creatinine can check if your kidneys have been damaged by diabetes. The results of the creatinine blood test are used to estimate your glomerular filtration rate (GFR), which is a measure of your level of kidney function.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.