Rationale and Strategies for Early Detection and Management of Diabetic Kidney Disease

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Diabetic kidney disease (DKD) occurs in 20% to 40% of patients with diabetes mellitus and is the leading cause of chronic kidney disease and end-stage renal disease in the United States. Despite the American Diabetes Association and the National Kidney Foundation advocating annual screening of diabetic patients, DKD remains underdiagnosed in the diabetic population. Early recognition of diabetic nephropathy by health care professionals is vital for proper management. The presence of microalbuminuria is particularly important as even low levels of dipstick-negative albuminuria indicate early disease long before a diminished glomerular filtration rate and are associated with an elevated cardiovascular disease risk. Like all forms of chronic kidney disease, DKD causes a progressive decline in renal function that, despite current treatment strategies, is largely irreversible. Many patients with DKD might be expected to develop end-stage renal disease, but many more patients will likely die of a cardiovascular event before renal replacement therapy is needed. Therefore, a renewed focus on cardiovascular risk factor reduction and a timely nephrology consultation with an emphasis on patient education is essential to proper DKD management.

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