Diabetes or uncontrolled high blood sugar is the most common cause of kidney disease in the United States and around the world. As the average weight of the population continues to go up and the level of activity continues to decline, diabetes will continue to reach epidemic proportions.

Who is at risk?

Risk of diabetes increases with weight gain, inactivity, age and high blood pressure. Certain races and ethnic groups are more susceptible to diabetes. Genetics and family history of diabetes play an important role as well.

What are the types of diabetes?

There are two types of diabetes:

Type 1 Diabetes – Approximately five to ten percent of people diagnosed with diabetes have type 1 diabetes which most often occurs in young adults and children. In type 1 diabetes, the body stops producing insulin, requiring daily insulin injections or use of an insulin pump. Type 1 diabetes is more likely to lead to kidney failure. 20 to 40 percent of people with type 1 diabetes develop kidney failure by the age of 50 and some develop kidney failure before the age of 30.

Type 2 Diabetes – About 90 to 95 percent of people diagnosed with diabetes have type 2 diabetes, which generally occurs in people age 40 and older but can occur at any age. With worsening childhood obesity and poor lifestyle, type 2 diabetes is beginning to occur at earlier ages.

Diabetic kidney disease

Even though diabetic kidney disease takes many years to develop, early signs of kidney damage have been noted.  Significant kidney damage rarely occurs in the first ten years of diabetes, but most type 2 diabetes can go undetected for many years before it is diagnosed. Proper control of diabetes affects progression of kidney disease. Most type 2 diabetics can have hypertension, which accelerates the kidney-damaging process. Earliest signs of kidney damage from diabetes are usually protein or albumin in the urine.

To watch a video explaining more about diabetes, click here.