Kidney Disease & Diabetes

Diabetes is the leading cause of chronic kidney disease (diabetic nephropathy). Learn more about protecting your kidneys as a patient living with diabetes.

Kidney Disease & Diabetes Overview

About 8.9% of the US population has diabetes, and among them, one in three Americans with diabetes have diabetic kidney disease. Because of this, uncontrolled diabetes is the leading cause of chronic kidney disease in the United States.

How Diabetes Can Lead to Kidney Disease

Diabetes is a condition that impacts the body’s ability to manage the level of glucose (sugar) in a person’s blood stream. Glucose (sugar) is your body’s primary source of energy. Your body is created to maintain a normal blood glucose level, but sometimes the body’s natural glucose regulators stop functioning as well or at all, which causes diabetes.

When the glucose level in a person’s blood stream is too high, the arteries and veins of the body are flooded with excess glucose, which can reduce the elasticity of your blood vessels and cause them to narrow and harden over time. This can impact organs throughout your body, including your eyes (diabetic retinopathy), your nerves (diabetic neuropathy), your heart or your kidneys. If the damage to your kidneys’ veins and arteries becomes too severe, you may develop diabetic nephropathy or diabetic kidney disease.

How to Prevent Diabetic Nephropathy?

The best way to prevent diabetic nephropathy is to manage your blood glucose levels and keep your A1C under 7%. But as many patients with diabetes know, food, stress, exercise and more all have a complex impact on your blood glucose levels that can be challenging to manage.

Keeping up with your annual primary care and endocrinology appointments are the first important step. At your annual appointments, you and your doctor should monitor the levels of protein in your urine and creatinine in your blood to see if they are elevated. If you have elevations of either of these levels, it may be time to see a nephrologist to check the health of your kidneys.

Those with diabetes should also be especially careful to manage their blood pressure. Paired together, high blood pressure and diabetes can significantly increase your risks for heart and kidney disease. If you have both conditions, it may be time to expand your care team to make sure you have comprehensive expertise and the latest care techniques available to you. Consider scheduling appointments with not just your primary care and endocrinology provider, but also with a nephrologist and a cardiologist.

How to Know If Diabetes Has Caused Kidney Damage?

While early signs of damage to the kidneys are hard to detect, if you are a patient living with diabetes and you are experiencing any of the following symptoms, it is time to make an appointment with a nephrologist to get your kidneys checked.

  • Blood pressure that cannot be controlled with medication
  • Swelling or fluid retention in your body, especially your feet or legs
  • Changes in urination, including increased frequency or difficulty urinating

Why Choose Hattiesburg Clinic?

At Hattiesburg Clinic, our comprehensive care team focuses first on prevention of the long-term complications of kidney disease. In concert with Hattiesburg Clinic’s primary care, endocrinology and cardiology, we focus on coordinating care with each of your doctors to provide the highest quality outcomes for our patients. Contact one of our practices below with any questions or to make an appointment.

Hattiesburg, MS
Vascular Access Center
5909 Hwy. 49
Ste. 15
Hattiesburg, MS 39402
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Monday - Friday
8 a.m. - 4 p.m.
Hattiesburg, MS
Hattiesburg Clinic - Main
415 S. 28th Ave.
4th Floor
Hattiesburg, MS 39401
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Monday - Friday
8 a.m. - 5 p.m.
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