Diabetes and Your Kidneys

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.


Ask your health care provider to test you for kidney disease and to explain the results.

How can kidney disease harm your body?

Your kidneys have millions of filters that remove waste from your blood. These filters keep protein in the blood. 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 health care provider 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.

There is no cure for kidney disease but there are things you can do to help prevent it. The earlier you find and treat it, the better your chances are of keeping your kidneys healthy. Visit your health care provider regularly to help manage your diabetes. This will help you prevent kidney failure, also called end-stage renal disease.

Things you can do to help prevent kidney disease

  • Visit your health care provider regularly. Get screened for kidney disease to catch problems early.
  • Follow your health care provider’s advice. Sometimes exercise, changes to your diet, and medicine can help keep your kidneys healthy.
  • Ask your health care provider about ways to
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