Diabetic nephropathy is the condition that occurs when diabetes causes your kidneys to lose their ability to function properly. It is characterized by high levels of protein in the blood. Diabetes occurs when your body does not make enough insulin or does not use insulin properly. High blood sugar caused by diabetes can cause problems in many parts of your body, including the kidneys.
Kidneys contain many small blood vessels. With diabetes, these small blood vessels can be injured throughout the body, including the kidneys. When diabetes damages the small blood vessels in the kidneys, this is called diabetic nephropathy. When this occurs, your kidneys cannot filter your blood properly and this will cause your body to retain more water and salt than it should. In addition, waste materials will build up in your blood.
Another way diabetic nephropathy occurs is when diabetes causes nerve damage. It may be difficult to empty your bladder, which can back up and injure or infect kidneys. Urine that has a high sugar level, when left sitting in the bladder, can cause rapid growth of bacteria. This leads to bladder and kidney infections as well.
Symptoms of kidney disease often do not show up until it is too late to reverse the disease. Therefore, if you have diabetes, it is important to get certain tests on a regular basis to insure you are not developing diabetic nephropathy. Some symptoms of kidney disease include weight gain, ankle swelling, high blood pressure, and increased urination, especially at night. Taking care of yourself and keeping your diabetes under control will help prevent kidney disease.