What is Diabetic Nephropathy?
According to the American Heart Association, a normal blood pressure reading for adults is a systolic pressure of less than 140 mm Hg and a diastolic pressure of less than 90 mm Hg. However, in 1997 the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute issued specific blood pressure goals for people with diabetes. They recommend that people with diabetes keep their systolic pressure at 130 mm Hg or less and their diastolic pressure at 85 mm Hg or less.
Nephropathy is the deterioration of the kidneys. The final stage of nephropathy is called end-stage renal disease, or ESRD.
Diabetes is the most common cause of ESRD, accounting for more than 40 percent of cases. About 16 million people in the US have diabetes, and about 100,000 people have ESRD as a result of diabetes. Both type 1 and type 2 diabetes can lead to diabetic nephropathy, although type 1 is more likely to lead to ESRD
There are five stages of diabetic nephropathy, or deterioration of the kidneys. The fifth stage is ESRD. Progress from one stage to the next can take many years, with 23 years being the average length of time to reach stage five.
What Causes Diabetic Nephropathy?
Hypertension, or high blood pressure, is a complication of diabetes that is believed to contribute most directly to diabetic nephropathy. Hypertension is believed to be both the cause of diabetic nephropathy, as well as the result of damage that is created by the disease. As kidney disease progresses, physical changes in the kidneys often lead to increased blood pressure.
Uncontrolled hypertension can make the progress toward stage five diabetic nephropathy occur more rapidly.
Can Diabetic Nephropathy be Prevented?
The onset and progression of diabetic nephropathy can be slowed by intensive management of diabetes and its symptoms, including taking medications to lower blood pressure.
Treatment for Diabetic Nephropathy:
Specific treatment for diabetic nephropathy will be determined by your physician based on:
Treatment may include any, or a combination of, the following:
Treatment for ESRD often initially includes dialysis to cleanse the blood, and, eventually, kidney transplantation.
Learn more about the services offered at the University of Maryland Center for Diabetes and Endocrinology: