How To Test For Diabetic Nephropathy

Diabetic nephropathy is the primary cause of kidney failure among people having diabetes and affects many people (with diabetes). The problem becomes more demanding due to the fact that diabetic nephropathy may not produce early signs enabling prompt medical intervention. People with diabetes are likely to have several long-standing medical conditions including kidney-related problems.

Diabetic nephropathy is diagnosed through simple tests which check for a protein (albumin) in their urine. This protein, which is not usually present otherwise, can be found in the early stages of kidney damage even before you have any symptom(s). The test can outline nephropathy as the kidneys cannot filter it out the way they should.

Tests for Diagnosing Diabetic Nephropathy

When kidney damage is traced early, the damage can be restricted from getting worse. It is important for people with diabetes to have regular testing and examination of kidney through several tests. The following are among the major ones:

Urine Test

People having type 1 diabetes can undergo a urine test annually. Children with diabetes should also have yearly testing when they are 10 years old and had been living with diabetes. With type 2 diabetes, testing should begin early right from the diagnosis of diabetes itself.

A urine test is done for diabetic nephropathy wherein the urine is checked for protein(urinalysis). The Microalbumin urine tests can determine protein in urine even though small enough to be left unidentified by other tests or through routine examinations.

Two tests are done within a 3- to 6-month period to diagnose nephropathy. Once you begin testing, perform it each year. Urine test generally does not require any prior preparation. You may also undergo more tests as advised by your doctor. Some of these are:


BUN, or blood urea nitrogen, is blood test to measure the amount of urea nitrogen in the blood. Urea nitrogen is formed when protein breaks down and can be determined through a blood test done out of a blood sample.

Serum Creatinine

Creatinine is an important part of muscle. A blood sample can be used to measure the amount of creatinine in blood. Creatinine can also be determined with a urine test. A creatine test can show the functioning of the kidneys and can be undertaken every year.

Kidney Biopsy

A kidney biopsy, which may not be done commonly, can confirm the diagnosis in case of any doubt about the diagnosis. In kidney biopsy, a sample of kidney tissue is examined.

More Tests for Diabetic Nephropathy

Besides the above-mentioned tests, you may require some more tests and examinations to be done on a regular basis. These include checking blood pressure and cholesterol. Blood pressure should be checked regularly both by your doctor and yourself. Since blood pressure can increase with progressing kidney damage among people with diabetes, it is important to monitor it regularly.

Set a target to prevent or delay kidney damage. You should also check the cholesterol levels.  The triglycerides also need regular scrutiny. High cholesterol can raise the risk for atherosclerosis (hardening of arteries) and may lead to heart disease, even stroke.