Diabetes is a disease that millions and millions of people in the United States are afflicted with. In fact, there are estimates that around 20.8 million adults and children in the United States, or 7% of the world’s population, are affected by this disease. Of this number, 14.6 million people have already been diagnosed with diabetes. However, 6.2 million people (nearly one-third) are not even aware that they have this disease.
Diabetes is more than a single disease. Diabetes is really a group of related diseases in which your body is not able to regulate the amount of sugar (glucose) in your blood.
The glucose in your blood is what gives you the energy to perform the physical activities of your daily life. Insulin is one of several hormones that regulates the glucose level in your blood. People who are afflicted with diabetes, either cannot make enough insulin or cannot use the insulin that is produced by their body in the right way, or both.
Diabetic glomerulosclerosis is a disease that occurs in people who have diabetes. It is a disease that damages or hurts your kidneys.
Your kidneys are composed of hundreds of thousands of filtering units that are referred to as nephrons. Each one of these nephrons has a cluster of tiny blood vessels that are known as a glomerulus. Together, these structures work to filter waste from your blood.
The high level of blood sugar that is brought about by diabetes may result in damage to these structures by causing them to become scarred and thickened. With the passage of time, more and more blood vessels are destroyed. This, in turn, leads to leaking and albumin (protein) getting into your urine.
Diabetic glomerulosclerosis does not develop in every person who has diabetes. About 40 out of every 100 people with diabetes will go on to get this disease.
The reason why some people who are afflicted with diabetes acquire diabetic glomerulosclerosis and other people do not has not yet been discovered. However, there are some risk factors that may increase your likelihood of having diabetic glomerulosclerosis if you have diabetes. Some of these include:
- Being a smoker
- Having hypertension (high blood pressure)
- Having high blood cholesterol.
In addition, Native Americans, African Americans and Hispanics are at a higher risk for getting diabetic glomerulosclerosis.
Diabetic glomerulosclerosis does not cause any signs or symptoms in the early stages of the disease. Later on, as diabetic glomerulosclerosis progresses, you may experience things like:
- Weight gain that is unintentional that results from the build up of fluid
- Nausea and vomiting
- Generalized swelling of your body
- Generalized itching
- Excessive frothing or a foamy appearance of your urine
- Swelling that occurs in your feet and legs
- Hiccups that take place frequently
- A general feeling of sickness or not being well (malaise)
- Swelling that develops around your eyes that usually occurs in the morning
- A poor appetite
- Hypertension (high blood pressure)
- Proteinuria (protein in your urine)
- High blood cholesterol and triglycerides