Kidney disease

Kidney disease, also known as nephropathy, occurs when high blood glucose levels damages the blood vessels in the kidneys. The kidney starts to leak useful substances such as proteins are lost in the urine, and does not function effectively. The earlier a diagnosis is made, the more effective the treatment, and can help to prevent the kidney disease from getting worse.

In its early stages, kidney disease doesn’t cause symptoms, but over time it can cause kidney failure. This means the kidney stops working and dialysis is needed to clean the blood as the kidneys normally would.

Kidney disease in people with diabetes develops very slowly, over many years. It’s most common in people who have had the condition for over 20 years.

Spotting kidney disease early

  • You can find out how healthy your kidneys are by measuring how much protein (or microalbumin) is passed by your kidneys into your urine. This can be measured using a spot sample of urine.
  • A full blood test can also tell you have well the kidneys are functioning.

Steps to take

  • Keep blood glucose levels within the target range.
  • Stay healthy and active
  • Attend diabetes health check-ups, especially have a urine test for protein and a blood test to measure kidney function at least once a year.
  • Talk to your child’s healthcare team if you have any concerns.