Symptoms of diabetic kidney disease do not normally appear until the condition is out of control. That is why it is important to routinely receive check-ups and speak with your doctor about your risk factors and concerns. Your physician should check for symptoms of diabetic kidney disease through lab work at least once a year, but you cannot forget that management of your condition is ultimately up to you.

Although the symptoms of diabetic kidney disease come on late and are subtle, there are 10 key symptoms of diabetic kidney disease that you can watch for, according to These are:

  1. Changes in Urination – changes of frequency, color, or appearance of urine could all be indications that you are having kidney problems.
  2. Swelling – Swelling in your legs, ankles, feet, face, or hands are signs that your kidneys are having trouble removing excess fluid from your body.
  3. Skin Rashes or Itching – When your kidneys are unable to remove waste from your bloodstream, the buildup often leads to rashes or severe itching.
  4. Leg, Back, or Side Pain–Sometimes kidney cysts form which often lead to back and leg pain.
  5. Metallic Taste or Ammonia Breath – Waste in your bloodstream can cause your breath to smell bad and leave a metallic taste in your mouth. Many times this affects the way food tastes, so people with kidney disease may experience weight loss as well.
  6. Nausea and Vomiting – The buildup of wastes in the blood stream can also lead to nausea and vomiting.
  7. Feeling Cold – Normally kidneys make a hormone, erythropoietin, which signals the body to make red blood cells. When the production of red blood cells decreases, it leads to a condition called anemia, which can cause a person to feel cold and have shortness of breath.
  8. Shortness of Breath – Aside from anemia, kidney disease also causes a shortness of breath caused by a buildup of fluids in the lungs.
  9. Dizziness and Trouble Concentrating – When you suffer from anemia, it leads to a lack of oxygen in the brain, which can cause you to feel dizzy, have trouble concentrating, and have issues with memory loss.
  10. Fatigue – Anemia also causes muscle weakness, fatigue, and tiredness.


Slowing Down Kidney Disease in Diabetes


Diabetes is the most common cause of kidney failure in the United States. Since symptoms of diabetic kidney disease do not manifest until the condition has been present for a long time, most kidney disease is detected through blood testing or testing of the urine. If your kidney disease remains undetected, it may lead to a need for dialysis or a kidney transplant.

There are ways that you can slow down kidney damage in diabetes. As with many complications of diabetes, you should begin by making sure to control your blood sugar well. Keeping watch on your blood pressure, taking your medication as prescribed, and not eating too much protein are also ways to keep your condition from getting worse.