Kidney Disease

Nearly one out of three people with type 1 diabetes (T1D) develop kidney disease. Fortunately, most people with T1D and kidney disease don’t end up with kidney failure.

The kidneys filter waste and extra water out of your blood through urine. Your kidneys also help control blood pressure and deploy hormones that your body needs to stay healthy. When your kidneys are damaged, they can’t filter blood like they should, which can cause wastes to build up in your body. Chronic high blood glucose levels can slowly and progressively or aggressively damage the kidneys.

Preventing Kidney Disease

Keep your blood sugar in range

Keep your blood pressure under control

Get checked annually for diabetic kidney disease by a health care professional (blood and urine tests)

Seek preventive care early on to reduce/prevent progression to advanced disease stage


Treatments for Kidney Disease

Getting early treatment is key to delaying further damage and progression of kidney disease. Treatment is based on the stage of kidney disease:

Early Stages:

In the early stages of kidney disease, medications may be prescribed to help manage blood pressure. These medicines can also reduce the risk of kidney disease from progressing. Newer glucose-lowering medications that are used to treat type 2 diabetes, such as SGLT inhibitors, GLP-1 agonists and Mineralocorticoid receptor antagonists, also act to protect kidneys and help the kidney disease from progressing. These are currently approved for or being tested in advanced kidney disease in other (non-T1D) populations.

Later Stages:

As chronic kidney disease progresses to serious advanced stages, kidney dialysis or transplantation may be needed. This treatment filters blood, removing waste, chemicals, and extra fluid from the blood because the kidneys can’t anymore, or replaces with a functional kidney from cadaveric donors.

Download our Diabetic Kidney Disease one-pager for more information on the latest JDRF-funded research advances in kidney health.

Editor’s note: This content was created in collaboration with our partners at Beyond Type 1. Explore additional resources about kidney disease on the Beyond Type 1 website.

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