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Diabetes and Renal Failure

Diabetes & Renal Failure

Did you know that one in 4 diabetic patients suffer from kidney disease?  Yes, diabetes mellitus is one of the prime causes of end-stage renal failure. Nearly 30% of patients with Type 1 diabetes and 40% of patients with Type 2 diabetes suffer from renal failure.

Diabetes and renal failure - the connection

Why are diabetic patients more prone to renal failure? 

The main function of the kidneys is to separate the waste from the blood and send the cleaned blood back to the body. When a person has diabetes, the high levels of sugar in the blood damage the tiny filtering units of the kidneys called the nephrons. This results in deterioration of the kidney renal function and eventually, kidney failure.

This kidney disease caused by diabetes is also called diabetic nephropathy. Even if diabetic patients take insulin, they are still susceptible to diabetic nephropathy. This diabetic kidney disease is incurable and requires lifelong treatment. It can be, however, controlled with the right medication and treatment.

What is end-stage renal failure?

Over time, with chronic diabetes, the functioning of the kidneys falls below 10% and they literally stop functioning. this is called end-stage renal failure.

End-stage renal failure is the 5th stage of chronic kidney disease. It develops only at least 20 years after the patient is diagnosed. Usually, when the glomerular filtration rate is less than 15 ml/min/1.73 m2, the condition is diagnosed as end-stage renal failure.

Diabetic nephropathy is the precursor to end-stage renal disease. Since this disease is progressive, early detection along with the right treatment and adherence to a strict renal diabetic diet will help prevent end-stage renal failure.

Signs of kidney disease

Sometimes people do not even realize that they have kidney disease unless and until these signs of kidney disease manifest themselves in a big manner like this

  • Tiredness and low energy - Kidney disease causes anaemia, thereby causing fatigue and loss of energy.
  • Loss of concentration - Toxins build up in the blood due to kidney disease, causing people to feel tired and lose concentration.
  • Dry and itchy skin - With kidney disease, the kidney renal function is affected and is not able to eliminate toxins or maintain the nutrient balance in the body. This causes mineral depletion along with blood contamination causing dry and itchy skin.
  • Frequent urination - Persons with kidney disease have an urge to urinate often due to damage in the kidney filters.
  • Blood in the urine - due to damaged filter system of the kidneys, blood leaks out in the urine.
  • Foamy urine - If the urine has excessive bubbles requiring frequent flushing, it shows the presence of protein in the urine. The first sign of the disease may be the presence of protein in the urine.
  • Puffiness around the eyes - This is due to protein depletion as the protein passes off into the urine.
  • Swollen ankles and feet - This is due to sodium retention due to damaged kidneys
  • Muscle Cramping - Impaired kidneys cause low calcium due to electrolyte imbalance, causing muscle cramps.
  • Poor appetite - Reduced kidney function causes poor appetite due to the build-up of toxins.
  • Easy bruising, frequent nosebleeds, excessive thirst, headaches, nausea and sleep apnea are other symptoms

Following the right renal diabetic diet will help to prevent the diabetic renal disease from advancing.

Renal diabetic diet

  • Consume berries, grapes, cherries, plums and apples. Avoid mango, pomegranate, kiwi, oranges
  • Take asparagus, cauliflower, eggplant, turnips and onions while avoiding potatoes, tomatoes, okra and spinach
  • Eat lean meat, egg and unsalted food avoiding bacon, lunchmeats, pepperoni and hot dogs
  • Drink water, diet soda and unsweetened tea avoiding fruit juices, lemonades and sodas.
  • Avoid whole wheat bread, potato chips, sugary cereals and pancakes.
  • Avoid nuts and eat unsalted crackers, sandwich bun ad pasta instead.

Prevent diabetes from progressing to end-stage renal failure by adhering to a strict renal diabetic diet and by following the right treatment. 



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