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Could You Have Diabetic Kidney Disease?

Blood pressure

High blood pressure is closely linked to kidney failure. Untreated high blood pressure can lead to permanent damage to the blood vessels in the kidneys. The American Diabetes Association sets blood pressure guidelines at 130/80. If lifestyle changes are not enough to lower your blood pressure, you may need medication. Medicines like ACE inhibitors are an effective way to lower your blood pressure and can even help protect your kidneys from further damage. Ask you doctor if you should be treated for high blood pressure.

  • What is my blood pressure?
  • What should my blood pressure be?
  • What can I do to lower my blood pressure?
  • Should I be on blood pressure medicine?
  • What are ACE inhibitors and could they help me?
  • How can I get a blood pressure monitor to use at home?
  • How often should I check my blood pressure?


Diabetes is the leading cause of kidney failure. Uncontrolled diabetes will damage your kidneys. Controlling diabetes is the treatment. Ask your doctor if your diabetes is in control.

  • How can I help control my blood sugar?
  • Would it be helpful to talk with a dietitian about my diet?
  • What should my blood sugar range be?
  • How often should I check my blood sugar?
  • What is my hemoglobin A1c level?
  • What should my hemoglobin A1c level be?
  • Do I need to change my diabetes medication?

Kidney function

Kidney disease is described in five stages, with stage 5 being the worst. Over time your kidneys may stop working as well as they do right now. There are tests your doctor can do to find out how well your kidneys are working. Ask your doctor about your kidney function.

  • What stage of kidney disease am I in now?
  • Do you know what my estimated glomerular filtration rate (GFR) is? Do you track it over time?
  • How will I know if my kidney function has changed? Are there any specific warnings sign?
  • Are there blood tests I should be having, and how often?
  • Are there urine tests I should be having, and how often?
  • When should I be referred to a kidney specialist?

Delaying kidney disease

If you have kidney disease there are ways to help keep your kidneys working well as long as they can. Ask your doctor what you can do to keep your kidneys healthy.

  • What can I do to delay kidney disease?
  • Are there medicines I should avoid?
  • Do I need to make any changes to my diet?
  • How often should I see my doctor?
  • Are there other professionals that I should see, such as a dietitian?
  • If you would like to see a doctor who specializes in the care of kidneys, called a nephrologist, you can use DaVita's Find a kidney doctor tool to locate a nephrologist in your area.