Diabetes and Kidneys

Diabetes and Kidneys

Diabetes is one of the leading causes of kidney disease. If you’re living with diabetic kidney disease, it’s extremely important to stay in control of, and care for, both your diabetes and kidneys so you can be your healthiest.

What is diabetes?
  • Diabetes is a condition in which the body either doesn’t make enough insulin or isn’t able to use it effectively – making it hard to maintain healthy blood sugar (glucose) levels.
  • People living with diabetes must make diet modifications and may need to take medication to keep glucose levels in control.
  • Uncontrolled diabetes can lead to other health problems beyond kidney disease, including eye disease, heart disease, high blood pressure (hypertension), nerve disease, and foot health issues.

What are the symptoms of diabetes?

Common symptoms of type 1 diabetes and type 2 diabetes include:

  • Increased thirst
  • Frequent urination
  • Extreme hunger
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Presence of ketones in your urine
  • Fatigue
  • Irritability

If you experience any of these symptoms, contact your doctor. Early diagnosis and consistent treatment are key to controlling the condition.

Diabetes and Kidneys - What are the symptoms of diabetes?
How does diabetes affect the kidneys?

Poorly controlled blood sugar slowly weakens and damages the blood vessels in the kidneys over time. This condition can lead to kidney disease. As more kidney tissues are damaged, it can result in kidney failure.


When the kidneys fail to filter and remove waste and excess water from the blood, dialysis or a kidney transplant is needed.

How to control diabetes

It’s essential that you follow your doctor’s exact instructions for managing diabetes. Everyone’s health is different, and only your doctor or nurse can determine what’s right for you.

In general, there are certain steps that should be part of your daily routine to control blood sugar:

  • Check and record your blood sugar levels
  • Take the medications your doctor prescribes
  • Make healthy food choices and eat according to your nutrition plan
  • Check the condition of your feet regularly
  • Have your eyes checked regularly and follow proper eye care
  • Take good care of your mouth and see your dentist on a regular basis
  • Stay active and maintain a healthy weight

If you have questions about diabetic kidney disease, ask your doctor or nurse.

Diabetes and Kidneys - How to control diabetes