Kidney disease (nephropathy)

When blood glucose is high, it can damage the blood vessels in your kidneys, leading to kidney disease

In its early stages, kidney disease doesn’t cause symptoms, but over time it can cause kidney failure. This means they stop working and dialysis is needed to clean the blood as the kidneys normally would.

If doctors detect kidney disease early enough, the damage can sometimes be reversed. Doctors can also prescribe medications to lower the risk of developing kidney damage.

Spotting kidney disease early

You can find out how healthy your kidneys are by measuring how much protein (or microalbumin) is passed by your kidneys into your urine. This can be measured using a spot sample of urine. Ask your doctor or healthcare team if you want to be tested.

You should also have the levels of creatinine in your blood checked at least once a year, as part of your annual type 1 diabetes check up.

Reducing the risk of kidney disease

The best way to reduce the risk of kidney disease is to manage your type 1 diabetes as best that you can, with regular testing and adjustments when your blood glucose levels are high or low. A healthy diet and regular exercise will also help.