Diabetes – How Is Kidney Affected In It?

Diabetes – How Is Kidney Affected In It?


By Dr. Ramesh Rao, Nephrology

Diabetes is a disorder that is characterized by an inability of the pancreas to produce enough insulin or effectively utilize the insulin produced by the body. Insulin is the hormone that is produced by the pancreas to metabolize sugar in the body, the sugar that is present in the food that you consume.

Diabetes is commonly classified into two types: Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes.

In Type 1 diabetes, the cells in the pancreas do not produce insulin in the required amounts; this disorder usually tends to occur in children. Type 2 diabetes generally occurs in people who are above 40 years of age; this type is characterized by an inability of the body to efficiently utilize the insulin produced by the pancreas.

How does it affect your kidneys?

  1. If the blood sugar levels are high, then it can affect the functioning of the kidneys.
  2. Over a period of time, accumulated damage to the kidneys causes leakage of protein in your urine.
  3. Diabetes also damages the blood vessels in the body, which may include the kidneys as well.
  4. Impaired kidney functioning also causes weight gain and swelling of the ankles.
  5. Diabetes may also affect the nerves that control the action of the bladder. This results in the bladder not emptying properly, thus creating pressure on the kidneys.
  6. Accumulation of urine that has high sugar levels is more susceptible to bacterial infection.

What to do?

  1. It is essential to get your urine checked at least once every year to detect signs of kidney damage.
  2. Some other symptoms that you may experience are swelling in the ankles, weight gain and a rise in your blood pressure.
  3. The first step to treat kidney damage caused by diabetes is to get your blood sugar levels under control.
  4. You should also avoid consuming medications that can cause damage to the kidneys.
  5. A kidney transplant or dialysis may be advised if the damage to kidneys is significant.