The term diabetic nephropathy is used to indicate damage to the kidneys caused by diabetes. It is a common complication of diabetes, which can cause significant health problems and even death in diabetics. A person with diabetes is considered to have diabetic nephropathy when more than 300 mg of protein is present in the urine per 24 hours. The characteristic features of diabetic nephropathy are:
Research has shown that the kidney damage caused by diabetes starts a few years after the onset of the disease and progresses slowly. It usually does not cause any symptom in the initial stages of the kidney damage. Symptoms surface 5 to 10 years after the kidney damage starts. Kidney damage or disease is usually progressive. It is, however, important to remember that everyone who has diabetes does not develop diabetic nephropathy and diabetic nephropathy does not progress to renal failure in all the cases.
Most cases of diabetic nephropathy can be prevented or the progress of the disease can be slowed with appropriate care. Serious kidney problems in diabetes can be prevented by:
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