How Does Type II Diabetes Lead to Kidney Disease?

Type II Diabetes Causing Kidney Disease?

Type II Diabetes is an increasingly prevalent condition among US citizens, but also among veterans who served during the Vietnam Era. Diabetes affects the entire body in numerous damaging ways. One of these ways is kidney (renal) disease.

How Does Type II Diabetes Lead to Kidney Disease?

Diabetes is a disease where the body does not make enough insulin or cannot use normal amounts of insulin properly. Type II Diabetes is a form of diabetes that is characterized by high blood sugar, insulin resistance, and relative lack of insulin. As Type II Diabetes progresses it can cause additional complications, including kidney disease. According to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK), diabetes is the leading cause of chronic kidney disease and kidney failure in the US.

Type II Diabetes can cause damage to the kidneys and lead to kidney disease in multiple ways, such as:

  • Damage to the blood vessels inside the kidneys. Over time, high blood sugar levels can cause the blood vessels inside the kidneys to become narrow and clogged. As a result, the kidneys become damaged.
  • Damage to the nerves in the kidneys. Diabetes can cause damage to the nerves in your body, including in your bladder. If the nerves in the bladder are damaged, it becomes difficult to tell when your bladder is full and the pressure from a full bladder can damage your kidneys.
  • Urinary tract infection. Bacteria grows faster in urine with a high blood sugar level, this can cause infection that spreads to the kidneys causing damage.

Diagnosis & Treatment

The most common early sign of kidney disease caused by type II diabetes is excretion of albumin, a type of protein, in a person’s urine. Another early sign is having to use the bathroom frequently in the night and having high blood pressure. Symptoms that may occur in the later stages of the disease include: increased creatinine, blood in urine, sweating, poor appetite and nausea, and weakness or fatigue.

The treatment of kidney disease is focused on lowering blood pressure and slowly the progression of the disease by maintaining blood sugar. If the disease has progressed to kidney failure then there are three treatments: kidney transplant, hemodialysis, and peritoneal dialysis.

Types of Disease

  • Diabetic Nephropathy. Diabetic nephropathy is the beginning of kidney disease. It is a progressive disease caused by damage to the blood vessels in the kidneys’ glomeruli.
  • Chronic Kidney Disease. Chronic kidney disease (CKD) is a progressive loss of kidney function over a period of months or years. CKD is identified by a blood test for creatinine, a breakdown product of muscle. Higher levels indicate a decreased capacity of the kidneys.
  • End-Stage Renal Failure. End stage renal failure is the condition of individuals with CKD who need life-supporting treatments for kidney failure. This includes treatment such as dialysis or kidney transplant.

Secondary Service Connection?

A secondary service-connected disability is a disability that is caused by a condition that is already service-connected. To establish a secondary service connection there needs to be a link between the primary and secondary disability. In this case, veterans must prove that their kidney disease is due to or the result of their already service-connected type II diabetes.

Veterans Help Group have been supporting veterans in getting the benefits they deserve since 1995. If you or a loved one served, and suffer from kidney disease caused by type II diabetes, we are here to help. Call Veterans Help Group at 855-855-8992 or complete our free veterans benefits case evaluation form.


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