Diabetes represents the commonest cause of kidney failure in the Western World.
Normal functioning kidneys which are made up of tiny filtration units filter the blood and remove toxic waste products and which is excreted as urine.
Patients with diabetes sometimes develop damage to their kidneys due to persistently high blood sugar levels. The result is that the kidneys become less able to excrete the excess toxic waste products of metabolism and any excess water.
This in turn results in the patient feeling tired, nauseated and fluid overloaded. A simple blood and urine test can identify the level of toxic waste and indicate nephropathy.
Diabetic Nephropathy is a very specific form of kidney disease which goes through many stages before it leads to end stage renal failure requiring dialysis or a kidney transplant. The development of nephropathy can be identified at an early stage even before any abnormality appears in the blood test. This is done by analyzing urine protein content and if present patients can be treated with medication.
This has proved highly effective both in the prevention of kidney disease and in the stabilization of established kidney impairment. It is essential therefore that analysis of kidney function forms part of the routine and regular follow up of diabetes patients.