If you have type 1 or type 2 diabetes, you're at significant risk of developing diabetic nephropathy. Reduced blood flow to your kidneys and the presence of a protein called albumin in your urine make your body retain more water and salt. This can cause symptoms such as weight gain, ankle swelling, fatigue and loss of appetite.
Diabetic nephropathy is the leading cause of end-stage kidney (renal) disease in the United States, resulting in the need for dialysis or kidney transplantation. People at all stages of diabetic nephropathy have a significantly increased risk of developing and dying early of heart disease.
If you have diabetes, it's very important for you to have your kidney function tested and monitored to prevent nephropathy from worsening and reduce your risk of heart disease. If you have additional conditions — such as high cholesterol, high blood pressure or anemia — or you're obese or smoke, your risk of kidney damage increases even more.