Diabetic kidney disease

Diabetic kidney disease


Diabetic kidney disease is one of the complications of diabetes. The function of healthy kidneys is to act as filters that keep the bloodstream clean. When kidneys are damaged by the high blood sugar levels of diabetes, waste and fluids build up in the blood, instead of being eliminated.


Diabetes is the leading cause of kidney failure (end-stage renal disease or ESRD). Hypertension, or high blood pressure, plays a major role in the development of diabetic kidney disease. Hypertension is a complication of diabetes that is believed to contribute most directly to diabetic kidney disease.

Hypertension can be both a contributing cause of the disease as well as a result of it. Uncontrolled hypertension can cause the kidneys to deteriorate more rapidly to the final stage of kidney failure.

The onset and progression of diabetic kidney disease can be slowed by vigilant management of diabetes and its symptoms and by taking medications to lower blood pressure.


Kidney damage from diabetes, known as diabetic nephropathy, begins long before there are symptoms.

An early symptom is the presence of small amounts of protein in urine. A urine test can detect it. A blood test can also help determine how well kidneys are working.

Often diabetic kidney disease has no symptoms until it progresses to the late stages of diabetic nephropathy. When symptoms do appear, they include:

  • Fatigue
  • Insomnia
  • Weakness
  • Vomiting
  • Swelling

(516) 465-8200

Make an appointment

Call the Division of Kidney Diseases and Hypertension to make an appointment with one of our experts.

Find the doctor who is right for you.