Diabetic Nephropathy - Treatment Overview
Treatment if the condition gets worse
If damage to
the blood vessels in the kidneys continues,
kidney failure may eventually develop. When that occurs,
it is likely that you will need
dialysis treatment (renal replacement therapy)—an
artificial method of filtering the blood—or a kidney transplant to survive. To
learn more, see the topic
Chronic Kidney Disease.
What to think about
Diabetic nephropathy can
get worse during pregnancy and can affect the growth
and development of the fetus. If your nephropathy is not severe, your kidney
function may return to its prepregnancy level after the baby is born. If you
have severe nephropathy, pregnancy may lead to permanent worsening of your
If you have
nephropathy and are pregnant or are planning to become pregnant, talk with your
doctor about which medicines you can take. You may not be able to take some
medicines (for example, angiotensin-converting enzyme [ACE] inhibitors or angiotensin II receptor blockers [ARBs]) during pregnancy, because they
may harm your developing baby.
- Pregnancy and Diabetes: Planning for Pregnancy
Prevention is the best way to avoid
kidney damage from
If you already have diabetic nephropathy, you may be able
to slow the progression of kidney damage by:
dehydration by promptly treating other conditions—such
as diarrhea, vomiting, or fever—that can cause it. Be especially careful during
hot weather or when you exercise.
- Reducing your risk of heart
disease. Lifestyle changes such as eating a low-fat diet, quitting smoking , and
getting regular exercise can help reduce your overall risk of developing heart
disease and stroke.
- Treating other conditions that may block the normal flow of
urine out of the kidneys, such as
kidney stones, an
enlarged prostate, or bladder
- Not using
medicines that may be harmful to your kidneys,
nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). Be sure
that your doctor knows about all prescription, nonprescription, and herbal
medicines you are taking.
- Avoiding X-ray tests that require IV
contrast material, such as angiograms, intravenous
pyelography (IVP), and some CT scans. IV contrast can cause further kidney
damage. If you do need to have these types of tests, make sure your doctor
knows that you have diabetic nephropathy.
- Avoiding situations where
you risk losing large amounts of blood, such as unnecessary surgeries. Do not
donate blood or plasma.
- Lowering your blood pressure, because high
blood pressure can make kidney damage even worse.
- Checking with
your doctor to find out if it is safe for you to drink alcohol. Limiting alcohol can lower your blood
pressure and lower your risk of kidney damage.