Diabetic Neuropathy Research
Diabetic kidney disease, also known as diabetic neuropathy, is one of the most common and most devastating complications of diabetes. It is a slow deterioration of the kidneys and kidney function which, in more severe cases, can eventually result in kidney failure, also known as end-stage renal disease, or ESRD. About 25 percent of people with juvenile (type 1) diabetes suffer from nephropathy. Those with type 2 diabetes are also at risk.
How Far Have We Come?
Research shows that kidney damage is directly tied to high blood sugar levels, and there is also evidence of a cyclical connection between high blood pressure and kidney disease. Overall, scientists know there is a link between diabetic nephropathy and heredity, but more information is needed to understand it. To aid in prevention, doctors have identified possible symptoms to look for, and measures to take. Measures have also been outlined to help prevent onset of kidney failure. In the event that kidney failure does occur, dialysis and transplantation are two viable treatment options.
Though no cure exists, scientists are evolving strategies for the prevention and treatment of diabetic nephropathy. Researchers are investigating the genetic components of nephropathy in people with type 1 diabetes, to aid in screening for early treatment. Several drugs for treating hypertension, as well as other types of drugs, are showing promise for treating the disease, but more research is needed. Research is also underway to understand the mechanisms of the disease, improve the success of kidney transplants, and test the effectiveness of simultaneous kidney and pancreas transplants.
Study Shows Early Diabetic Kidney Disease Can Be Reversible
New research by a JDRF-funded scientist and colleagues brings encouraging news about nephropathy (kidney disease) in people with juvenile (type 1) diabetes. The earliest sign of nephropathy, microalbumuria, which was thought to lead inevitably to deteriorating kidney function, is actually reversible in many cases, suggesting that prompt intervention might undo damage caused by high blood glucose.
Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation 2005.
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