Kidney Disease – A Silent Diabetes Problem

Having diabetes can place your kidneys at risk. About a quarter of adults with diabetes have kidney disease. However, you can catch it early and take action.

The kidneys are two bean-shaped organs that sit just below your rib cage. Millions of tiny blood vessels inside filter your blood, disposing of waste in your urine.

If you have diabetes, high blood glucose damages these blood vessels. The damage prevents the kidneys from doing their important job. The condition gets worse with time.

Eventually, your kidneys may fail, a serious illness called kidney failure. You may need a kidney transplant or regular blood-filtering treatments called dialysis. Kidney disease also can increase your risk for cardiovascular disease and other conditions.

Kidney disease usually has no symptoms at first. Once it has progressed, it can cause:

  • Swelling, especially in your legs, feet, and ankles
  • Sleep problems
  • Trouble focusing
  • Nausea and vomiting

Keep Kidneys Working Their Best

“Early treatment may help prevent long-term damage,” says Mawya Shocair, MD, a Steward Health Care and Steward Medical Group Nephrologist. “It is very important to talk with your doctor about getting blood and urine tests for kidney disease every year, whether you have type 1 or type 2 diabetes.”

Also, keep your kidneys working at their best with healthy habits. Be sure to:

  • Manage your blood glucose levels.
  • Control your blood pressure. Eat less salt and follow your doctor’s instructions to keep your blood pressure in your target range.
  • Take the medicines your doctor prescribes.
  • Exercise regularly. Aim for 30 minutes of activity on most days of the week.


To find a doctor or schedule an appointment, visit Steward DoctorFinder™.