Diabetic nephropathy is a common complication of type 1 and type 2 diabetes. Over time, poorly controlled diabetes can cause damage to blood vessel clusters in your kidneys that filter waste from your blood. This can lead to kidney damage and cause high blood pressure. High blood pressure can cause further kidney damage by increasing the pressure in the delicate filtering system of the kidneys.
Your risk of diabetic nephropathy is greater if you have type 1 or type 2 diabetes. Several other factors may increase your risk of diabetic nephropathy, including:
- High blood sugar (hyperglycemia) that's not well-controlled
- High blood pressure (hypertension) that's not controlled
- Being a smoker
- High blood cholesterol
- A family history of diabetes and kidney disease
To reduce your risk of developing diabetic kidney disease:
- Treat your diabetes. With effective treatment of diabetes, you may prevent or delay diabetic kidney disease.
- Manage high blood pressure or other medical conditions. If you have high blood pressure or other conditions that increase your risk of kidney disease, work with your doctor to control them. Ask your doctor about tests to look for signs of kidney damage.
- Follow instructions on over-the-counter medications. When using nonprescription pain relievers such as aspirin and ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin IB, others), follow the instructions on the package. For people with diabetic kidney disease, taking these types of pain relievers can lead to kidney damage.
- Maintain a healthy weight. If you're at a healthy weight, work to maintain it by being physically active most days of the week. If you need to lose weight, talk with your doctor about weight-loss strategies, such as increasing daily physical activity and reducing calories.
- Don't smoke. Cigarette smoking can damage your kidneys and make existing kidney damage worse. If you're a smoker, talk to your doctor about strategies for quitting smoking. Support groups, counseling and medications can all help you to stop.