What is diabetic nephropathy?
Diabetes can affect many parts of the body, including the kidneys. In healthy kidneys, many tiny blood vessels filter waste products from your body. The blood vessels have holes that are big enough to allow tiny waste products to pass through into the urine but are still small enough to keep useful products (such as protein and red blood cells) in the blood. High levels of sugar in the blood can damage these vessels if diabetes is not controlled. This can cause kidney disease, which is also called nephropathy (say: nef-rah-puh-thee). If the damage is bad enough, your kidneys could stop working.
Written by familydoctor.org editorial staff