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How can diabetes hurt my kidneys?

When kidneys are working well, the glomeruli keep protein inside your body. You need the protein to stay healthy.

High blood sugar and high blood pressure damage the kidneysí glomeruli. Picture showing a healthy kidney and a kidney that is leaking protein.
No protein is leaking from the healthy kidney. When the kidneys are damaged, the protein leaks out of the kidneys into the urine. Damaged kidneys do not do a good job of cleaning out waste and extra fluids. So not enough waste and fluids go out of the body as urine. Instead, they build up in your blood.

An early sign of kidney damage is when your kidneys leak small amounts of a protein called albumin (al-BYOO-min) into the urine.

With more damage, the kidneys leak more and more protein. This problem is called proteinuria (PRO-tee-NOOR-ee-uh). More and more wastes build up in the blood. This damage gets worse until the kidneys fail.

Diabetic nephropathy (neh-FROP-uh-thee) is the medical word for kidney problems caused by diabetes.


Protein is leaking from the unhealthy kidney.

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