1. Health
You can opt-out at any time. Please refer to our privacy policy for contact information.

Symptoms of Kidney Disease in Diabetes

What to Look For


Updated May 27, 2014

Written or reviewed by a board-certified physician. See About.com's Medical Review Board.

Female doctor in discussion with mature female patient in exam room
Thomas Barwick/Stone/Getty Images

What are the symptoms of kidney disease in diabetes? One of the many long-term complications of type 2 diabetes is kidney disease. This is called nephropathy. Excess glucose in the blood can damage the delicate blood vessels in the kidneys that filter the toxins from our bodies. When the kidneys aren't doing their job, toxins can build up in the blood. What are the symptoms of kidney damage and disease?

Symptoms of Kidney Disease in Diabetes

  • Swelling or puffiness. This is called edema and can occur around the eyes, abdomen, legs, ankles, feet, and less often in other parts of the body.

  • Trouble urinating (either being unable to go, or going more than usual). Sometimes pain or burning can occur with urination. The urine could also be foamy, bloody or dark.

  • Fatigue, being unable to concentrate, or tiring easily.

  • Insomnia

  • Feeling "winded" or out of breath

  • Loss of appetite and/or a metallic taste in the mouth

  • Nausea or vomiting

  • Inability to keep warm

  • Dizziness

  • High blood pressure

  • Itching or rashes

  • Pain, mostly in legs and back, especially around the kidney area.

Many times, people aren't diagnosed with type 2 diabetes right away, so blood sugar levels can be high for quite a while before treatment is started. That means kidney damage can already be progressing when the diagnosis is made.

Make sure to get your kidney function assessed when you are diagnosed, as well as periodically afterwards. If you notice any of these symptoms, please see your doctor right away.


"10 Symptoms of Kidney Disease." Life Options - A Program of Medical Education Institute, Inc. Web. 17 Jan 2010. http://www.lifeoptions.org/kidneyinfo/ckdinfo.php?page=4.

"BUN." Lab Tests Online. 06 Jan 2010. Web. 17 Jan 2010. http://www.labtestsonline.org/understanding/analytes/bun/test.html.

©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.

We comply with the HONcode standard
for trustworthy health
information: verify here.