Alternate Names : Kimmelstiel-Wilson disease, Diabetic glomerulosclerosis, Nephropathy – diabetic
Diabetic nephropathy is kidney disease or damage that results as a complication of diabetes.
- Type 1 diabetes
- Type 2 diabetes
- Risk factors for diabetes
- Chronic kidney disease
Overview, Causes, & Risk Factors
The exact cause of diabetic nephropathy is unknown, but it is believed that uncontrolled high blood sugar leads to the development of kidney damage, especially when high blood pressure is also present. In some cases, your genes or family history may also play a role. Not all persons with diabetes develop this condition.
Each kidney is made of hundreds of thousands of filtering units called nephrons. Each nephron has a cluster of tiny blood vessels called a glomerulus. Together these structures help remove waste from the body. Too much blood sugar can damage these structures, causing them to thicken and become scarred. Slowly, over time, more and more blood vessels are destroyed. The kidney structures begin to leak and protein (albumin) begins to pass into the urine.
Persons with diabetes who have the following risk factors are more likely to develop this condition:
- African American, Hispanic, or American Indian origin
- Family history of kidney disease or high blood pressure
- Poor control of blood pressure
- Poor control of blood sugars
- Type 1 diabetes before age 20
Diabetic nephropathy generally goes along with other diabetes complications including high blood pressure, retinopathy, and blood vessel changes.
Pictures & Images
Male urinary system
The urinary system is made up of the kidneys, ureters, urethra and bladder.
Pancreas and kidneys
Uncontrolled diabetes causes damage to many tissues of the body including the kidneys. Kidney damage caused by diabetes most often involves thickening and hardening of the internal kidney structures. Strict blood glucose control may delay the progression of kidney disease in type 1 and type 2 diabetics.
During diabetic nephropathy the kidney becomes damaged and more�protein than normal collects in the urine. As the disease progresses, more of the kidney is destroyed. Over time, the kidney’s ability to function starts to decline, which may eventually lead to chronic kidney failure.
Review Date : 5/20/2009
Reviewed By : Reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc. Also reviewed by Deborah Wexler, MD, Assistant Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School, Endocrinologist, Massachusetts General Hospital.
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