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Diabetic Nephropathy - Treatment Overview

Diabetic nephropathy is treated with medicines that lower blood pressure and protect the kidneys. These medicines may slow down kidney damage and are started as soon as any amount of protein is found in the urine (microalbuminuria). The use of these medicines before nephropathy occurs may also help prevent nephropathy in people who have normal blood pressure.

If you have high blood pressure, two or more medicines may be needed to lower your blood pressure enough to protect the kidneys. Medicines are added one at a time as needed.

If you take other medicines, avoid ones that damage or stress the kidneys, especially nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). NSAIDs include ibuprofen and naproxen.

It is also important to keep your blood sugar within your target range. Maintaining blood sugar levels within your target range prevents damage to the small blood vessels in the kidneys.

Limiting the amount of salt in your diet can help keep your high blood pressure from getting worse. You may also want to restrict the amount of protein in your diet. If diabetes has affected your kidneys, limiting how much protein you eat may help you preserve kidney function. Talk to your doctor or dietitian about how much protein is best for you.

Initial treatment

Medicines that are used to treat diabetic nephropathy are also used to control blood pressure. If you have a very small amount of protein in your urine, these medicines may reverse the kidney damage. Medicines used for initial treatment of diabetic nephropathy include:

If you also have high blood pressure, two or more medicines may be needed to lower your blood pressure enough to protect your kidneys. Medicines are added one at a time as needed.

If you take other medicines, avoid ones that damage or stress the kidneys, especially nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs).

It is also important to keep your blood sugar within your target range to prevent damage to the small blood vessels in the kidneys.

Ongoing treatment

As diabetic nephropathy progresses, blood pressure usually rises, making it necessary to add more medicine to control blood pressure.

Your doctor may advise you to take the following medicines that lower blood pressure. You may need to take different combinations of these medicines to best control your blood pressure. By lowering your blood pressure, you may reduce your risk of kidney damage. Medicines include:

Continue to avoid other medicines that may damage or stress the kidneys, especially nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). And it is still important to keep your blood sugar within your target range, eat healthy foods, get regular exercise, and not smoke.

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WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: January 17, 2013
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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