Posted By Caspian Braxton    On 16 May 2023    Comments (0)

The Connection Between Diabetic Peripheral Neuropathy and Kidney Disease

Introduction to Diabetic Peripheral Neuropathy and Kidney Disease

As someone who has been closely following the developments in the field of diabetes, I have come to understand the various complications that can arise due to this chronic condition. One such complication is Diabetic Peripheral Neuropathy (DPN), which affects the nerves in the hands, feet, and legs. This can lead to pain, numbness, and weakness in these areas. In this article, I will be discussing the connection between DPN and kidney disease, as the two can often be closely related.

Understanding Diabetic Peripheral Neuropathy

DPN is a condition that affects the peripheral nerves in the body. These nerves are responsible for transmitting messages between the central nervous system and the rest of the body. When blood sugar levels are consistently high, as is the case in diabetes, these nerves can become damaged. This damage can lead to a loss of sensation, pain, and weakness in the affected areas.

DPN is a common complication of diabetes, affecting up to 50% of individuals with the condition. It usually develops gradually over time and can become worse if blood sugar levels are not properly managed. In some cases, DPN can lead to serious complications, such as foot ulcers, infections, and even amputations.

Exploring Kidney Disease in Diabetic Patients

Kidney disease, or nephropathy, is another common complication that can arise in individuals with diabetes. The kidneys are responsible for filtering waste and excess fluid from the blood. However, high blood sugar levels can damage the blood vessels in the kidneys, impairing their ability to function properly. This can lead to the build-up of waste products and fluid in the body, eventually resulting in kidney disease.

Diabetic kidney disease affects almost 40% of individuals with diabetes and is the leading cause of end-stage renal disease (ESRD), a condition in which the kidneys are no longer able to function properly and dialysis or a kidney transplant is required.

The Connection Between DPN and Kidney Disease

There is a strong connection between DPN and kidney disease, as both conditions share common risk factors such as high blood sugar levels, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol. Studies have shown that individuals with DPN are more likely to develop kidney disease than those without DPN. In fact, it has been estimated that up to 60% of individuals with DPN also have kidney disease.

One possible explanation for this connection is the presence of advanced glycation end products (AGEs) in the blood. AGEs are formed when glucose molecules bind to proteins or lipids in the body, and they can cause damage to the nerves and blood vessels, leading to both DPN and kidney disease.

Managing Blood Sugar Levels to Prevent Complications

The key to preventing both DPN and kidney disease is maintaining proper blood sugar levels. This can be achieved through a combination of healthy eating, regular physical activity, and medication as prescribed by your healthcare provider. Monitoring your blood sugar levels regularly and adjusting your treatment plan as needed is essential in preventing and managing these complications.

It is also important to have regular check-ups with your healthcare provider to monitor your kidney function and assess your risk for DPN. Early detection and intervention can help slow down the progression of both conditions and prevent further complications.

Additional Lifestyle Changes for Better Health

Aside from managing blood sugar levels, other lifestyle changes can help reduce the risk of developing DPN and kidney disease. These include:

  1. Quitting smoking, as smoking can contribute to nerve damage and impaired kidney function.
  2. Maintaining a healthy blood pressure, as high blood pressure can also damage the blood vessels in the kidneys and contribute to DPN.
  3. Reducing cholesterol levels, as high cholesterol can contribute to blood vessel damage and increase the risk of both conditions.

The Importance of Regular Foot Care

For individuals with DPN, regular foot care is essential in preventing complications such as foot ulcers and infections. This includes daily inspection of the feet for any cuts, blisters, or signs of infection; washing the feet with warm water and mild soap; and moisturizing the feet to prevent dry skin and cracks. It is also important to wear comfortable, supportive shoes and to avoid walking barefoot, as this can increase the risk of injury.

If you notice any changes in your feet or experience persistent pain, it is important to consult your healthcare provider for a thorough evaluation and appropriate treatment.


Understanding the connection between Diabetic Peripheral Neuropathy and kidney disease is crucial in preventing and managing these complications in individuals with diabetes. By maintaining proper blood sugar levels, making healthy lifestyle changes, and taking care of your feet, you can greatly reduce your risk of developing these conditions and improve your overall quality of life.

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