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Diabetic Nephropathy Clinical Presentation

  • Author: Vecihi Batuman, MD, FACP, FASN; Chief Editor: Romesh Khardori, MD, PhD, FACP  more...
 
Updated: Jul 08, 2016
 

History

Diabetic nephropathy should be considered in patients who have diabetes mellitus (DM) and a history of one or more of the following:

  • Passing of foamy urine
  • Otherwise unexplained proteinuria
  • Diabetic retinopathy
  • Fatigue and foot edema secondary to hypoalbuminemia (if nephrotic syndrome is present)
  • Other associated disorders such as peripheral vascular occlusive disease, hypertension, or coronary artery disease
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Physical Examination

Generally, diabetic nephropathy is considered after a routine urinalysis and screening for microalbuminuria in the setting of diabetes. Patients may have physical findings associated with long-standing diabetes mellitus, such as the following:

  • Hypertension
  • Peripheral vascular occlusive disease (decreased peripheral pulses, carotid bruits)
  • Evidence of diabetic neuropathy in the form of decreased fine sensations and diminished tendon reflexes
  • Evidence of fourth heart sound during cardiac auscultation
  • Nonhealing skin ulcers/osteomyelitis

Almost all patients with nephropathy and type 1 DM demonstrate signs of diabetic microvascular disease, such as retinopathy and neuropathy.[15] Clinical detection of the retinopathy is easy, and in these patients the condition typically precedes the onset of overt nephropathy. The converse is not true. Only a minority of patients with advanced retinopathy have histologic changes in the glomeruli and increased protein excretion that is at least in the microalbuminuric range, and most have little or no renal disease (as assessed by renal biopsy and protein excretion).

Patients with type 2 DM who have marked proteinuria and retinopathy typically have diabetic nephropathy, while those persons who do not have retinopathy frequently exhibit nondiabetic glomerular disease.

To see complete information on the conditions below, please go to the main article by clicking on the title:

  • Diabetic Neuropathy
  • Diabetic Retinopathy
  • Diabetic Foot
  • Diabetic Foot Infections
  • Diabetic Lumbosacral Plexopathy
  • Diabetic Ulcers
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Contributor Information and Disclosures
Author

Vecihi Batuman, MD, FACP, FASN Huberwald Professor of Medicine, Section of Nephrology-Hypertension, Tulane University School of Medicine; Chief, Renal Section, Southeast Louisiana Veterans Health Care System

Vecihi Batuman, MD, FACP, FASN is a member of the following medical societies: American College of Physicians, American Society of Hypertension, American Society of Nephrology, International Society of Nephrology

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

Coauthor(s)

Anjana S Soman, MD Staff Physician, Department of Pathology, Quest Diagnostics

Anjana S Soman, MD is a member of the following medical societies: American Society for Clinical Pathology, College of American Pathologists

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

Rebecca J Schmidt, DO, FACP, FASN Professor of Medicine, Section Chief, Department of Medicine, Section of Nephrology, West Virginia University School of Medicine

Rebecca J Schmidt, DO, FACP, FASN is a member of the following medical societies: American College of Physicians, American Medical Association, American Society of Nephrology, International Society of Nephrology, National Kidney Foundation, Renal Physicians Association, West Virginia State Medical Association

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

Sandeep S Soman, MBBS, MD, DNB Senior Staff Physician, Department of Internal Medicine, Division of Nephrology and Hypertension, Henry Ford Hospital

Sandeep S Soman, MBBS, MD, DNB is a member of the following medical societies: American College of Physicians, American Medical Association, American Society of Nephrology

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

Specialty Editor Board

Francisco Talavera, PharmD, PhD Adjunct Assistant Professor, University of Nebraska Medical Center College of Pharmacy; Editor-in-Chief, Medscape Drug Reference

Disclosure: Received salary from Medscape for employment. for: Medscape.

Chief Editor

Romesh Khardori, MD, PhD, FACP Professor of Endocrinology, Director of Training Program, Division of Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism, Strelitz Diabetes and Endocrine Disorders Institute, Department of Internal Medicine, Eastern Virginia Medical School

Romesh Khardori, MD, PhD, FACP is a member of the following medical societies: American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists, American College of Physicians, American Diabetes Association, Endocrine Society

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

Acknowledgements

George R Aronoff, MD Director, Professor, Departments of Internal Medicine and Pharmacology, Section of Nephrology, Kidney Disease Program, University of Louisville School of Medicine

George R Aronoff, MD is a member of the following medical societies: American Federation for Medical Research, American Society of Nephrology, Kentucky Medical Association, and National Kidney Foundation

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

Sreepada TK Rao, MD, FACP Professor, Department of Medicine, State University of New York Downstate Medical Center

Sreepada TK Rao, MD, FACP is a member of the following medical societies: American Society of Hypertension, American Society of Nephrology, and International Society of Nephrology

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

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Rate of decline in glomerular filtration rate in various stages of type 1 and type 2 diabetes.
Simple schema for the pathogenesis of diabetic nephropathy.
Screening for and prevention of the progression of microalbuminuria in diabetes mellitus. (ACE-I stands for angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitor)
Stages in the development of diabetic nephropathy.
 
 
 
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