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Diabetes and Kidney Problems Source: National Diabetes Information Clearinghouse, National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, National Institutes of Health. diabetes.niddk.nih.gov The kidneys act as filters to clean the blood. They get rid of wastes and send along filtered fluid. The tiny filters in the kidneys are called glomeruli.
When kidneys are healthy, the artery brings blood and wastes from the bloodstream into the kidneys. The glomeruli clean the blood. Then wastes and extra fluid go out into the urine through the ureter. Clean blood leaves the kidneys and goes back into the bloodstream through the vein. When the kidneys are working well, the tiny filters in your kidneys, the glomeruli, keep protein inside your body. You need the protein to stay healthy.
High blood glucose and high blood pressure damage the kidneys’ filters. When the kidneys are damaged, the protein leaks out of the kidneys into the urine. Damaged kidneys do not do a good job of cleaning out wastes and extra fluid. Wastes and fluid build up in your blood instead of leaving the body in urine.
Kidney damage begins long before you notice any symptoms. An early sign of kidney damage is when your kidneys leak small amounts of a protein called albumin into the urine. But the only way to know about this leakage is to have your urine tested.
With more damage, the kidneys leak more and more protein. This problem is called proteinuria. More and more wastes build up in the blood. This damage gets worse until the kidneys fail.
Diabetic nephropathy is the medical term for kidney problems caused by diabetes. Nephropathy affects both kidneys at the same time. LifeART Collection Images Copyright © 1989-2001 by Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Baltimore, MD