The Link Between Diabetes and Kidney Failure



Approximately 34.2 million Americans have diabetes according to the American Diabetes Association. 1 out of 4 of these adults will be diagnosed with diabetic kidney disease (DKD) in their lifetime. This is a significant portion of the population, making the need to manage and mitigate the disease increasingly important.

How does diabetes affect the kidneys?

Insulin is responsible for regulating the amount of sugar in the blood. When the body does not produce enough insulin or can’t process it properly, the blood begins to take on too much sugar. This excess of sugar can damage the kidneys’ blood vessels, meaning they are no longer able to efficiently clean the blood. Because of this damage, the body retains excess salt and water and begins to leak protein into the urine.

Other contributing factors

The chance of developing diabetic kidney disease is greater if your blood pressure and glucose levels are high. Combining other factors like smoking, a high sodium diet, an inactive lifestyle, being overweight, and genetics with diabetes can increase the risk of kidney failure. Risk is also greater for those who are older and how have lived with diabetes for a long time.

Prevention and early detection

Many of the risk factors for diabetic kidney disease can be mitigated with lifestyle changes. Your chances of diabetic kidney failure are considerably less when you strictly follow your diabetic management plan and keep your blood pressure at a healthy level. In adhering to these plans, you’re also tackling other risk factors by staying active, maintaining a healthy weight, and avoiding smoking.

If you’ve already been diagnosed with diabetes, it is important to see your doctor for regular check-ups. They’ll test your blood and urine for signs of kidney failure. The earlier kidney failure is detected, the better your chances of preventing it from progressing further.


Here at the Nephrology Associates of Cincinnati, we believe that empowering our patients and community with knowledge is a critical step in disease prevention. To speak to a member of our care team or schedule an appointment, contact us.


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Nephrology Associates of Greater Cincinnati
4750 E Galbraith Road, Suite#103
Cincinnati, OH 45236

(513) 984-3500
(513) 791-2151