Encyclopedia Home / D / Diabetic nephropathy

Diabetic nephropathy

  • Alternative Names

    Kimmelstiel-Wilson disease; Diabetic glomerulosclerosis; Nephropathy - diabetic


    Often, there are no symptoms as the kidney damage starts and slowly gets worse. Kidney damage can begin 5 to 10 years before symptoms start.

    People who have more severe kidney disease may have a poor appetite, feel tired most of the time, and have a general ill feeling.

    Headache,nausea and vomiting,swelling of the legs, and many other symptoms may also occur.

    See also: End stage kidney disease

    Signs and tests

    Tests your doctor orders can often find signs of kidney problems in the early stages.

    Once a year, you should have a urine test. It looks for a protein called albumin. Because the test looks for small amounts of albumin, it is sometimes called a test for microalbuminuria.

    When you have diabetes, your doctor will test your urine for too much protein at least once a year. Too much protein is often a sign of kidney damage.

    High blood pressure often goes along with diabetic nephropathy. You may have high blood pressure that begins quickly or is hard to control.

    Your doctor will also check your kidneys with the following blood tests every year:

    • BUN
    • Serum creatinine

    Other lab tests that may be done include:

    • 24-hour urine protein
    • Blood levels of phosphorus, calcium, bicarbonate, PTH, and potassium
    • Hemoglobin
    • Hematocrit
    • Protein electrophoresis - urine

    A kidney biopsy confirms the diagnosis. However, your doctor can often diagnose the condition without a biopsy. A biopsy is done if there is any doubt about the diagnosis.