What is diabetic kidney disease?

Diabetic nephropathy is the kidney disease that occurs as a result of diabetes.

Thirty to forty percent of people with diabetes may eventually develop kidney complications. Diabetic kidney disease is also known as diabetic nephropathy.

Diabetic nephropathy

Although around 30 - 40% of people with diabetes will develop diabetic nephropathy, it is possible to prevent it, or delay the progress of the disease through 5 key healthy lifestyle adaptations you can make, which are explained here.

The kidneys filter blood from the arteries and clean out the waste products. Diabetes can damage both our arteries and the filtering units within the kidneys; so people with diabetes are at greater risk of experiencing deterioration in their kidney function (nephropathy). Advanced kidney disease is known as end stage renal disease, or ESRD. Roughly 50% of ESRD stems from diabetes Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes. There are 5 stages of diabetic nephropathy (ESRD being the 5th stage), on average it takes 20 years to reach stage 5.


Sick Kidneys

30-40% of people with diabetes may develop a kidney complication but you can prevent it!

Symptoms of kidney disease

Many patients will not experience noticeable symptoms until the later stages of DKD (usually around stage 4 of disease progression).

As you can be asymptomatic with diabetic kidney disease, it is recommended that people with diabetes are screened annually for kidney complications. This involves a blood and a urine test to check how well the kidneys are working and to look for protein in the urine.

Symptom clipboard

Symptoms of kidney disease

  • Swollen ankleSwollen ankles, feet, lower legs or hands due to retention of water.
  • Urine sampleDark concentrated urine.
  • Short of breathShortness of breath on exertion (i.e. walking up the stairs).
  • TiredBeing more tired than usual.
  • NauseaNausea or vomiting.

Managing your DKD

In this video, a group of patients from the Barts Health Renal Department describe their experience of living with Kidney disease and provide some tips on how to look after your kidneys.

Managing your DKD

Website designed and developed by Adept