Skip to content

Diabetes Health Center

As Diabetes Increases, So Does Kidney Disease

Study: Diabetic Kidney Disease Up 34% Since 1988
Font Size
A
A
A
By
WebMD Health News
Reviewed by Laura J. Martin, MD

June 21, 2011 -- The number of Americans with diabetic kidney disease is rising, a new study shows.

About 40% of people with diabetes will develop kidney disease, a serious and costly complication that greatly increases the risk of other health problems, including cardiovascular disease.

Diabetic kidney disease is also the leading cause of end-stage renal disease, which requires treatment with regular dialysis or a kidney transplant.

Using data from government health surveys, researchers at the University of Washington, Seattle, found a 34% increase in cases of diabetic kidney disease from 1988 to 2008.

The percentage of diabetic people identified by the study who developed kidney disease did not appear to change during those years, holding steady at about 35%.

But because more people are developing diabetes, the numbers with kidney disease are also going up, the study shows.

Better Diabetes Treatment Hasn’t Affected Kidney Disease

That’s discouraging, experts say, especially since management of diabetes has markedly improved over the last two decades.

More diabetic people now take medications to lower their blood glucose and cholesterol, and more are taking medications that lower blood pressure called renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system (RAAS) inhibitors, which are thought to protect the kidneys.

And at least in some respects, the medications seem to be making a difference. The study found that average blood glucose, blood pressure, and LDL“bad” cholesterol numbers have all gone down in diabetic people.

But kidney disease in diabetic people hasn’t budged.

“I was hoping that would we see, among people with diabetes, a reduction in diabetic kidney disease and was surprised that that was not the case,” says study researcher Ian H. de Boer, MD, assistant professor of medicine in the Kidney Research Institute at the University of Washington.

“We need to find ways to do more,” de Boer says, “either by preventing diabetes itself, or by preventing diabetic kidney disease through new routes.”

Diabetes Treatment

Why better treatments haven’t seemed to put a dent in diabetic kidney disease has experts scratching their heads.

It may be that better treatments are helping to extend the health of the kidneys, delaying kidney disease until later in life, says Trevor J. Orchard, MBBCh, professor of epidemiology, pediatrics, and medicine at the University of Pittsburgh’s Graduate School of Public Health.

Is This Normal? Get the Facts Fast!

Check Your Blood Sugar Level Now
What type of diabetes do you have?
Your gender:

Get the latest Diabetes newsletter delivered to your inbox!


or
Answer:
Low
0-69
Normal
70-130
High
131+

Your level is currently

If the level is below 70 or you are experiencing symptoms such as shaking, sweating or difficulty thinking, you will need to raise the number immediately. A quick solution is to eat a few pieces of hard candy or 1 tablespoon of sugar or honey. Recheck your numbers again in 15 minutes to see if the number has gone up. If not, repeat the steps above or call your doctor.

People who experience hypoglycemia several times in a week should call their health care provider. It's important to monitor your levels each day so you can make sure your numbers are within the range. If you are pregnant always consult with your health care provider.

Congratulations on taking steps to manage your health.

However, it's important to continue to track your numbers so that you can make lifestyle changes if needed. If you are pregnant always consult with your physician.

Your level is high if this reading was taken before eating. Aim for 70-130 before meals and less than 180 two hours after meals.

Even if your number is high, it's not too late for you to take control of your health and lower your blood sugar.

One of the first steps is to monitor your levels each day. If you are pregnant always consult with your physician.

Did You Know Your Lifestyle Choices
Affect Your Blood Sugar?

Use the Blood Glucose Tracker to monitor
how well you manage your blood sugar over time.

Get Started

This tool is not intended for women who are pregnant.

Start Over

Step:  of 

Today on WebMD

Diabetic tools
Symptoms, diagnosis, treatment, and more.
woman flexing muscles
10 strength training exercises.
 
Blood sugar test
12 practical tips.
Tom Hanks
Stars living with type 1 or type 2.
 
Woman serving fast food from window
Video
Can Vinegar Treat Diabetes
Video
 
Middle aged person
Tool
are battery operated toothbrushes really better
Video
 

Prediabetes How to Prevent Type 2 Diabetes
Article
type 2 diabetes
Slideshow
 
food fitness planner
Tool
Are You at Risk for Dupuytrens Contracture
Article