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Kidney Failure Due to Diabetes

Medically reviewed by Jezreel Esguerra, MD · General Practitioner

Written by Honey Buenaventura · Updated Nov 11, 2022

Kidney Failure Due to Diabetes

Kidney failure can happen due to diabetes. This is referred to as diabetic nephropathy. More often than not, it’s sort of like a package deal: People who are diagnosed with diabetes are likely to develop kidney-related problems.

When you have diabetes—be it type 1 or type 2, your body has problem utilizing insulin. This results to increased blood sugar levels. If left unmanaged, this further leads to damage to other various organs to include the kidneys.

If you think you’re at risk, it’s important to know what are the symptoms of kidney failure due to diabetes, and what treatment options are available. 

What Are the Symptoms of Kidney Failure Due to Diabetes? 

In its early stages, it would be difficult to spot any symptoms. However, imbalances in bodily fluids and blood pressure are already present. As the buildup increases, your kidneys will begin to lose their function. Once you get to that stage, you might notice the following:

  • Swelling of face, hands, and feet
  • Darker urine color
  • Nausea and vomiting 
  • Abdominal pains 
  • Fatigue
  • Difficulty in concentrating 
  • Persistent itching
  • Body weakness
  • Shortness of breath

Complications such as cardiovascular disease and skin problems can arise during the late stages. 

Early detection and treatment is therefore important to prevent or slow down the disease’s progress. Visit your doctor on a regular basis to have your blood pressure checked, as well as examine your blood and urine for signs of diabetic nephropathy. 

Are There Any Risk Factors? 

If you’re diagnosed with either type 1 or type 2 diabetes, it’s likely that you will also develop kidney failure. Other factors that can lead to this, includes:

  • Hyperglycemia or high blood sugar 
  • Hypertension or high blood pressure 
  • Family history of diabetes 
  • Being a heavy smoker 
  • Being overweight

Are There Any Complications? 

Much like any other disease, diabetic nephropathy will cause complications if left untreated. You might want to monitor yourself and take note of the following:

  • Hyperkalemia or increase in potassium levels 
  • Fluid build up in the lungs 
  • Cardiovascular disease like stroke 
  • Damaged nerves and blood vessels 
  • Pregnancy complications puts both the mother and fetus at risk
  • End-stage kidney in need of transplant or dialysis 

How Is Diabetic Nephropathy Treated?

Now that we’ve identified what the symptoms of kidney failure due to diabetes are, you might want to know the treatment options available. 

When kidneys completely fail, either you opt for dialysis or get a kidney transplant.

Medications won’t work anymore since its function is almost gone. It cannot be salvaged anymore either.  This is why it’s important to get regular checkups to know the conditions of your blood chemistry and organs. Early detection and treatment are your best bet in reducing your risks. The main goal is to maintain normal glucose levels and blood pressure. Your doctor might recommend the following: 

1. Medications

For example, ACE inhibitors are a type of blood pressure drugs preferred by most doctors. Apart from lowering the blood pressure, it can actually slow down the progression of your diabetes. 

2. Maintain a Healthy Weight

Never underestimate the power of self-care. Make sure that you’re eating healthy and staying active. If you are overweight, talk to your doctor about the type of diet you should observe, and other weight-loss strategies. 

3. Quit Your Vices

If you’re a heavy smoker, you might want to consider quitting because it contributes to your kidney shutting down. Avoid alcohol altogether, as well.

Key Takeaways

If not treated, your kidney disease might progress to total kidney failure. Educating yourself on what are the symptoms of kidney failure due to diabetes might just save your life. With early detection, you’re reducing possible complications and preventing the disease from further progressing. 

Learn more about Diabetes Complications here.


Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Medically reviewed by

Jezreel Esguerra, MD

General Practitioner

Written by Honey Buenaventura · Updated Nov 11, 2022

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