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Type 2 Diabetes

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Type 2 Diabetes and Your Kidneys

Type 2 diabetes can increase your risk for kidney disease. Your risk is much higher if you are Hispanic/Latino, African American, or Native American.

How do you know if you have kidney disease?

You may not know if you have kidney disease. In the early stages, kidney disease causes no symptoms.

Why is kidney disease dangerous?

If kidney disease is not treated, your kidneys may stop working. This is called kidney failure, or end-stage renal disease. Having kidney disease also increases the chance of getting heart disease.

How can kidney disease harm your body?

Your kidneys have millions of filters that remove waste from your blood and keep protein in the blood. Over time, high blood sugar can damage these filters.

When kidney disease starts, the filters in the kidneys do not work well. This causes protein to pass into the urine. Having small amounts of protein in the urine is called microalbuminuria. You cannot see or feel this, but your doctor can test your urine for it. Without treatment, the kidneys will get worse.

Once this happens, the kidneys have a harder time controlling the body's fluid levels. This can cause high blood pressure or make high blood pressure worse.

When the kidneys do not work, a machine can be used to filter waste from the blood through a process called dialysis.

Kidney damage from diabetes can get worse over time. However, you can take steps to keep your kidneys healthy and help slow kidney damage to prevent or delay kidney failure. Visit your doctor regularly to help manage your type 2 diabetes.

Things you can do to help prevent kidney disease

  • Visit your doctor regularly. Get screened for kidney disease to catch problems early and ask your doctor to explain the results
  • Follow your doctor’s advice. Sometimes exercise, changes to your diet, and medicine can help keep your kidneys healthy
  • Ask your doctor about ways to
    • Keep your blood sugar under control
    • Keep your blood pressure at goal. High blood pressure can lead to kidney disease or make it worse
    • Lose weight, if you are overweight
    • Avoid drinking alcohol and smoking
    • Be active every day. Talk to your doctor before starting any physical activity