Symptoms of Diabetic Kidney Disorder: Recognizing Early Warning Signs

Did you know that 1 out of 3 people with diabetes develop diabetic nephropathy in the US? Diabetic nephropathy is a severe condition that occurs when you fail to manage your diabetes. It affects your kidney’s health and function (removing waste products and extra fluid from the body). If not treated on time, it can slowly damage your kidney’s filtering system and cause kidney failure. That’s why it’s essential to know the early signs of diabetic kidney disorder and whether you’re at risk of developing it. Learn the clinical stages of diabetic nephropathy and signs that you need to see a doctor for prompt treatment in this article.

Risk factors

If you have diabetes, several factors increase your risk of diabetic nephropathy:

  • High blood pressure
  • High blood sugar levels
  • Smoking
  • High blood cholesterol.
  • Obesity
  • Family history of diabetes and kidney disease.

Clinical stages of diabetic nephropathy

When you have diabetes, it may alter renal function and structure that lead to diabetic nephropathy. Studies shows that a series of stages occur in renal function due to diabetes which lead to diabetic nephropathy:

Stage 1: In this stage, early hyperfunction and hypertrophy occur due to diabetes. This increases urinary albumin excretion during physical activities. However, these changes are reversible by insulin treatment.

Stage 2: In this stage, morphologic lesions develop without any signs. However, it will make changes to kidney functions and morphometry which can be revealed during biopsy. The main function affected is identified as glomerular filtration rate (GFR), which is the rate of how efficiently the kidney filters waste substances. During good diabetes control, albumin excretion is normal but physical activities can make changes in that function. During poor diabetes control, albumin excretion goes up even at rest and during exercise. A number of patients stay at stage 2 throughout their lives.

Stage 3: In this stage, abnormally high urinary albumin excretion occurs which may lead to diabetic nephropathy. It can be measured by radioimmunoassay. If the level is higher than the normal values, but lower than disease levels then you are at baseline stage. A slow gradual increase happens over the years in case of renal disease in diabetes when your blood pressure is rising. Studies have found an increased rate of albumin excretion in patients who have high blood pressure.

Stage 4: In this stage, a persistent protein build up shows up in diagnostic reports. If it is associated with high blood pressure and left untreated, renal functions start to decline; the fall rate is around 1 ml/min//min/mo. Long-term antihypertensive treatment can lower the fall rate by around 60%.

Stage 5: This is the last stage, as renal failure with uremia happens due to diabetic nephropathy. Above 25% of the population till date enter the end-stage of renal failure programs in the United States are diabetic.

That’s why diabetic nephropathy and diabetic vasculopathy have become a major medical problem in today’s society.

Signs that you should look for

Usually, in early diabetic nephropathy you may not develop any major noticeable symptoms. But later, as the kidney function gets worse, you notice symptoms like:

  • Poor appetite
  • Nausea
  • Weakness
  • Swelling of the hands, feet, and face
  • Itching and dry skin
  • Drowsiness
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Swelling of the hands and feet
  • Abnormal heart rhythms due to high potassium in the blood
  • Muscle twitching

As kidney damage progresses, your kidneys fail to remove waste from your blood. If the waste builds up in your body, it can reach poisonous levels which are life-threatening. This condition is known as uremia.

What can you do?

If you notice some of the above-mentioned symptoms of kidney disease, you should visit a doctor for diagnosis and treatment. The earlier the treatment starts, the better. And if you have diabetes, visit your healthcare professional regularly for tests that measure how well your kidneys are working.

When you have diabetes, it automatically increases your risk of diabetic kidney disorder. That’s why you should manage your diabetes properly and look for signs of diabetic kidney disorder if you’re at risk of developing it because it causes no early signs and the signs that occur later on can become severe immediately if you don’t take treatment on time.

If you have signs of diabetic kidney disorder, then visit our endocrinology clinic in Brooklyn for professional medical help. Call us on +1-347-384-5690 and get answers to all your queries. Log on to or visit us at 1797 Pitkin Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11212 to book an appointment with our endocrinologist to get the best treatment. We have the best endocrinologists who treat these kinds of diseases and helpful staff to aid you during your treatment.