Diabetic Nephropathy is a chronic condition due to Diabetes Mellitus kidneys fail to function. Diabetic Nephropathy is also commonly known as diabetic kidney disease. Diabetic Nephropathy is the leading cause of End-Stage Renal Disease (ESRD) and chronic kidney disease seen globally. However, not everyone with diabetes develops chronic kidney disease. There are around 1 million nephrons in each kidney that eliminates extra wastes and fluids from the blood.
Nephrons aids in balancing salts, urea, phosphorus, water, and other minerals in the body. The tiny blood vessels present in the nephrons are thickened and scarred which gets damaged in the long term due to high blood sugar levels. In this condition, the protein discharges into the urine through the kidney. When nephrons are unable to filter properly, the kidneys get damaged and leads to kidney failure.
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Symptoms of Diabetic Nephropathy
In the beginning stages of diabetic nephropathy, people may not experience any symptoms. Diabetic nephropathy and chronic kidney disease have similar symptoms and tend to occur in the late stages of kidney disease.
It is time to diagnose if you are experiencing the below-mentioned symptoms:
2. loss of Appetite
3. Fatigue and Weakness
5. Itchiness (pruritis)
6. Aversion towards protein food (meat)
7. Shortness of Breath (due to low RBC or fluids in Lungs)
8. Frequent urination
9. Blood in the urine
10. Feeling chills most of the time
11. Taste disorders like ammonia breath or metallic taste in the mouth
12. swollen face, legs, or hands
13. bubbly urine
14. low hemoglobin or anemic
17. cravings to chew clay or ice
Diagnosing Diabetic Nephropathy
It is common for a doctor to check for diabetic nephropathy in someone with diabetes as part of a checkup. A urinalysis is done to see how much protein is in the urine. This helps to diagnose diabetic nephropathy in the patient.
Here are the tests to diagnose kidney failure of diabetic nephropathy:
• BUN Test (Blood Urea Nitrogen – Amount of Urea present in Blood)
• Serum creatinine (measures creatinine in the blood)
• 24-hour urine protein (measures amount of protein in urine)
• Blood levels of phosphorus, calcium, bicarbonate, and potassium
• Protein electrophoresis (measures different types of protein in the urine)
Treatments for Diabetic NephropathyIn order to eliminate kidney disease and related complications, Diabetic Nephropathy has to be treated at the earliest.
Monitoring blood sugar levels and keeping glucose in an optimum range is important to help control kidney disease. Kidney damage may be halted or slowed down if blood sugar is kept in a good range. Ensure regular blood sugar tests and monitor your diet so that your sugar level doesn’t go high. Another important factor to keep an eye on is blood pressure, maintain it under 130/80. Medicines like angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors and angiotensin receptor blockers (ARBs) will also slow down the risk of Diabetic Nephropathy.
Here are some other recommended ways to help treat diabetic nephropathy and slow kidney damage:
• Keep cholesterol level under control
• Include low-fat diet
• regular exercise
• Consult a renal dietitian
• Limit protein to a healthy level determined by your doctor or dietitian
• monitor protein intake as prescribed by the dietitian.
• Limit sodium intake
• Don’t smoke or use tobacco products
Low protein diets have been promoted for people with chronic kidney disease to decrease the kidney’s workload and perhaps delay the progression of kidney failure. Diabetic-tolerant people should be cautious while intaking protein diets and must include protein-sparing foods in their diet. Under diabetic nephropathy conditions, proteins are leaked into the urine. The doctor may advise supplementary protein intake to prevent protein deficiency and muscle decaying if you maintain poor blood sugar levels in diabetics. Dietitian will assess your nutrient intake and determine your protein levels before including a low protein diet A diabetic can consume between 0.8 to 1.0 grams of protein per day per kilo of their weight. Optimal blood sugar control is extremely important. They need proteins between 10% to 20% of the calories they weigh. The protein intake depends on key factors of individuals’ nutritional status like the functioning of kidneys, their nutritional status, and their needs.