10 Symptoms of diabetic nephropathy You Should Never Ignore

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10 Symptoms of diabetic nephropathy You Should Never Ignore

Diabetic nephropathy, also known as diabetic kidney disease, is a common complication of diabetes. It is a progressive kidney disease caused by damage to the small blood vessels in the kidneys. If left untreated, it can lead to kidney failure.

It is important for people with diabetes to be aware of the symptoms of diabetic nephropathy so that they can seek early treatment. In this article, we will explore the symptoms of diabetic nephropathy in detail.

1. Proteinuria

One of the early signs of diabetic nephropathy is the presence of protein in the urine, a condition known as proteinuria. The kidneys normally filter waste products from the blood, but when they are damaged, they may allow proteins to leak into the urine. This can result in foamy or bubbly urine.

If left untreated, proteinuria can progress to nephrotic syndrome, a condition characterized by swelling, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol levels. It is important for individuals with diabetes to have regular urine tests to check for the presence of proteinuria.

2. Swelling

Swelling, also known as edema, is a common symptom of diabetic nephropathy. It is often seen in the feet, ankles, and lower legs, but can also occur in the hands and around the eyes. The swelling is caused by the accumulation of fluid in the body, a result of the kidneys’ inability to effectively remove waste and excess fluids from the blood.

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Swelling can be a sign of advanced kidney disease and should be evaluated by a healthcare professional. In some cases, diuretics and dietary changes may be recommended to manage the swelling.

3. Fatigue

Chronic fatigue is a common symptom of diabetic nephropathy. The kidneys play a crucial role in the production of erythropoietin, a hormone that stimulates the production of red blood cells. When the kidneys are damaged, they may not produce enough erythropoietin, leading to anemia and fatigue.

Individuals with diabetic nephropathy may experience persistent tiredness, weakness, and difficulty concentrating. It is important to address fatigue with a healthcare provider, as it can significantly impact a person’s quality of life.

4. Itchy skin

Itchy skin, also known as pruritus, is a common symptom of diabetic nephropathy. It is caused by the buildup of toxins and waste products in the body due to impaired kidney function. These substances can accumulate in the skin, leading to irritation and itching.

Managing itchy skin may involve addressing the underlying kidney disease, as well as using moisturizers and avoiding harsh soaps and hot water. It is important to avoid scratching, as it can lead to skin damage and increase the risk of infection.

5. Nausea and vomiting

As diabetic nephropathy progresses, individuals may experience persistent nausea and vomiting. This can be a result of the buildup of waste products in the blood, which can lead to gastrointestinal disturbances. In some cases, individuals may also experience a metallic taste in the mouth.

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Nausea and vomiting can significantly impact a person’s appetite and nutritional status. It is important to seek medical attention for persistent or severe symptoms, as they can indicate advanced kidney disease.

6. High blood pressure

High blood pressure, or hypertension, is both a cause and a consequence of diabetic nephropathy. When the kidneys are damaged, they may release hormones that can increase blood pressure. Additionally, high blood pressure can further damage the kidneys, leading to a vicious cycle.

Individuals with diabetes should have their blood pressure monitored regularly and take steps to keep it within a healthy range. This may involve lifestyle changes, such as a healthy diet and regular exercise, as well as medications to control blood pressure.

7. Changes in urination

Changes in urination can be a symptom of diabetic nephropathy. This can include increased or decreased urination, as well as the need to urinate more frequently, particularly at night. Some individuals may also experience difficulties with urination, such as a weak or interrupted stream.

Changes in urination can result from damage to the small blood vessels in the kidneys, as well as nerve damage caused by diabetes. It is important to discuss any changes in urination with a healthcare provider to determine the underlying cause.

8. Shortness of breath

Shortness of breath, particularly during physical activity, can be a symptom of advanced diabetic nephropathy. This can be a result of fluid buildup in the lungs, a condition known as pulmonary edema. The kidneys’ inability to remove excess fluid from the body can lead to congestion in the lungs, making breathing difficult.

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Shortness of breath should be evaluated by a healthcare professional, as it can be a sign of severe kidney disease. Treatment may involve diuretics and other interventions to manage fluid buildup and improve breathing.

9. Changes in vision

Diabetic nephropathy can impact vision in several ways. It can lead to the development or progression of diabetic retinopathy, a condition characterized by damage to the blood vessels in the retina. Additionally, it can lead to fluctuations in vision due to changes in blood sugar levels and fluid balance in the eyes.

Individuals with diabetes should have regular eye exams to monitor for diabetic retinopathy and other vision changes. Controlling blood sugar levels and managing diabetic nephropathy can help protect vision and prevent vision loss.

10. Loss of appetite

Loss of appetite can be a symptom of advanced diabetic nephropathy. The buildup of toxins and waste products in the body can lead to a metallic or bitter taste in the mouth, as well as gastrointestinal discomfort. This can result in a decreased desire to eat.

Loss of appetite can lead to weight loss and nutritional deficiencies. It is important to address these symptoms with a healthcare provider to ensure proper nutrition and overall well-being.