Diabetic nephropathy is a common complication of diabetes that causes damage to the delicate filtering system of the kidneys.
It can occur in both patients with type 1 and type 2 diabetes. The kidneys contain millions of tiny clusters of blood vessels known as glomeruli. These serve the function of filtering wastes from blood.
Kidney failure or irreversible end-stage kidney disease may occur if these vessels are damaged. Irreversible end-stage kidney disease requires dialysis or kidney transplant.
Many patients may not experience any symptoms in the early stages of diabetic nephropathy.
Symptoms usually appear after a period of more than 5 years. They may include:
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