The primary purpose of the kidneys is to filter out any waste and other unnecessary substances in the bloodstream. But diabetes makes this process much harder for the body to complete because when the disease is poorly controlled, it causes damage to the blood vessels. Should this occur in the kidneys, the filtration process is impaired.

In this case, you may experience swelling in parts of the body, such as the hands and feet. This is caused primarily by the retention of water and salt that the kidneys can't properly filter and eliminate.

How common is kidney disease in people with diabetes?

According to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK), every year more than 100,000 people experience some form of kidney failure as a result of their diabetes. This condition is common with both type 1 and type 2.

Kidney.org wrote that approximately 30 percent of those with type 1 diabetes and between 10 and 40 percent of those with type 2 diabetes will experience issues with their kidneys, including outright failure. According to the NIDDK, of the 24 million people living in the United States who have diabetes, 180,000 of them are currently living with kidney failure.

Understanding the signs and symptoms

Kidney.org lists several possible warning signs:

• Urinating more frequently at night than during the day
• Experiencing morning sickness-like symptoms, such as nausea or vomiting
• Skin irritations, such as frequent itching
• Leg cramps or any swelling of the ankles

The tests for determining kidney disease

There are tests that a doctor can perform that will help positively identify problems with the kidneys. Physicians can measure a your urine albumin. This test checks for excess creatinine in the urine. Doctors can also check your estimated glomerular filtration rate.

An eFGR test checks the amount of blood filtered by the tiny vessels in the kidneys in the span of one minute. If the eFGR test reveals that less than 60 milliliters of blood is filtered per minute, then there is a high probability that you will have kidney issues, and a proper treatment plan is then developed.

Consult with a physician who can help develop a plan of action now to ensure that your kidneys remain healthy later.

For more on diabetes and kidney disease:

Protecting Your Kidneys
Treating Diabetic Kidney Disease
The Correlation Between Diabetes and Kidney Disease