Nebraska Diabetes Prevention
and Control Program

Diabetes Program Logo

Kidney Disease

Kidney disease or nephropathy is a serious complication in people with diabetes. Not everyone with diabetes develops kidney disease. Factors that can influence kidney disease development include genetics, blood sugar control, and blood pressure. The better a person keeps diabetes and blood pressure under control, the lower the chance of getting kidney disease.

The kidneys function to filter the blood and take out waste products. Each kidney has millions of filters that allow only waste materials to pass through. Once through the kidneys, waste products are excreted through the urine. Over time damage to the kidneys, from high blood sugar, allows these filters to become enlarged and leaky, which allows things we need in our body, like protein, to escape.

  • Microalbuminuria - A small amount of protein found in the urine is called microalbuminuria. This is a sign of the beginning stages of kidney disease. There are treatments that can be done to prevent or delay further kidney damage.
  • Macroalbuminuria - A large amount of protein is found in the urine. This is a sign that the kidneys have lost most of their filtering ability, as a result, there is a build-up of waste products in the blood. In most patients with macroalbuminuria, end stage renal disease follows. End stage renal disease is the failure of the kidneys to filter the blood, and it becomes necessary to have a kidney transplant or be on dialysis.

Important treatments for kidney disease are tight control of blood glucose and blood pressure. Blood pressure has a dramatic effect on the rate at which the disease progresses. Even a mild rise in blood pressure can quickly make kidney disease worsen. Four ways to lower your blood pressure are losing weight, eating less salt, avoiding alcohol and tobacco, and getting regular exercise.

Once kidneys fail, dialysis is necessary. Dialysis is a method of cleaning the blood if the kidneys are no longer functioning. There are two types of dialysis: hemodialysis and peritoneal dialysis.

  • Hemodialysis is usually done 2-3 times per week, blood travels through a machine where it is cleaned, and returned to body.
  • Peritonial dialysis is done several times each day and uses the lining inside the abdomen as the filter. A tube is surgically inserted into the abdomen and cleansing fluid is put in and drained out several times each day to cleanse the blood.

For more information visit:
American Diabetes Association. Living with Diabetes: Complications
National Diabetes Information Clearinghouse (NDIC)

Contact Information
Diabetes Prevention and Control Program
Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services
P.O. Box 95026
Lincoln, NE 68509-5026

Phone: (402) 471-4411
1-800-745-9311 (ask for Diabetes Section)

PDF GET Adobe Acrobat Reader