Elevated blood sugar triggers an inflammatory process that damages organs, among them the kidney.
Diabetic nephropathy becomes symptomatic in patients after several years with diabetes, but the process probably starts quite early in the disease. The condition is characterized by increased amount of protein in the urine. Protein is a marker of inflammatory processes in the renal arterioles and glomeruli. If the inflammation is not treated, the kidney function deteriorates and the patient will eventually require chronic dialysis or even a kidney transplant. Patients with diabetic nephropathy have a high morbidity and mortality.
Standard treatment of diabetic nephropathy is antidiabetics in addition to an anti-hypertensive drug, such as an ACE inhibitor or an angiotensin receptor blocker. This therapeutic combination has demonstrated a significant decrease in urinary loss of protein and prolonged the time until dialysis.
However, when the diabetic inflammatory process develops further, protein will once again be found in the urine as marker of the disease progression in diabetic nephropathy.