How Do You Know if Diabetes Is Affecting Your Kidneys or Bladder?

Diabetes is a widespread and often silent condition that affects millions of people worldwide. It can have many complications and many issues associated with it but how do you know if diabetes is affecting your kidneys or bladder?

These vital organs play an essential role in maintaining our overall health, yet their worsening due to diabetes can go unnoticed until serious complications arise.

Keep reading to learn more about subtle signs and symptoms that might signal diabetes is damaging your kidneys or bladder.

How Do You Know if Diabetes Is Affecting Your Kidneys or Bladder?

Diabetes And The Kidneys

Diabetes is a chronic condition that affects millions of people worldwide, often resulting in a range of complications if not managed effectively. One significant concern for people with diabetes is the potential impact on their kidneys and bladder. The kidneys play a crucial role in filtering waste products from the blood, regulating blood pressure, and maintaining overall bodily fluid balance.

Excessively high blood sugar levels can harm the tiny blood vessels in the kidneys, causing diabetic nephropathy. This condition impairs kidney function, leading to various kidney-related problems like diabetic neuropathy, diabetic kidney disease, and eventually kidney failure. In severe cases, dialysis or a kidney transplant may be necessary.

Both type 1 and type 2 diabetes require diligent attention to minimize the risk of kidney-related complications. The damage can lead to chronic kidney disease.

If you have diabetes, paying attention to the early stages of potential kidney or bladder involvement is crucial. To keep track, you should regularly check the sugar levels in your blood. High levels may signal a potential problem, and it's essential to stay in touch with your healthcare team to monitor and manage your kidney health.

Symptoms To Look For

These health conditions tend to develop and progress slowly and silently, and it can take years for the symptoms to present. Symptoms of diabetic kidney disease include:

  • Edema (swelling) in the feet, ankles, legs, and face as a result of fluid retention.
  • Increased urination and/or difficulty urinating
  • Excessive fatigue
  • Increased, difficult-to-control blood pressure levels.
  • Itchy, dry skin
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Loss of appetite

Individuals with diabetes are at a higher risk of developing high blood pressure, which further stresses the kidneys. High blood pressure can damage the delicate blood vessels within the kidneys, affecting their ability to filter blood efficiently.

Treatment and Management

Early treatment and proactive management of diabetes are critical to prevent or delay diabetic nephropathy.

Routine urine tests can reveal early signs of kidney dysfunction, such as the presence of protein or a small amount of blood in the urine, indicating potential kidney damage.

Maintaining a healthy lifestyle, including regular physical activity, a well-balanced diet, and consistent monitoring of blood sugar levels, is key to managing your diabetes and preserving kidney function.

In some cases, doctors may prescribe medications like angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors to help manage blood pressure and shield the kidneys from additional damage.

Diabetes And The Bladder

The bladder is responsible for holding urine and releasing urine. Diabetes can negatively affect the kidneys, a vital organ, due to the repercussions this metabolic disease can have on the blood vessels and nerves.

Nerves control the bladder's ability to store and release urine, and blood flow directly impacts the overall health of the bladder.

Diabetic cystopathy is one of the most common diabetic-related bladder issues. Difficulty emptying the bladder describes this condition, potentially leading to incontinence or urinary retention. Symptoms of diabetic cystopathy may experience the following symptoms:

  • Difficulty releasing urine
  • Weak urine stream
  • Unable to completely empty the bladder

UTIs and Bladder Infections

Another bladder-related issue that can occur as a result of diabetes is bladder infections. Diabetes can increase the risk of urinary tract infections (UTIs), including bladder infections. The following are hallmark symptoms associated with bladder infections:

  • Frequent urination
  • Cloudy urine
  • A painful or burning sensation while urinating
  • Increased urge to urinate

Bladder Dysfunction

Many diabetics develop neuropathy, a condition that affects the nerves throughout the body, including the nerves that control the bladder. As such, diabetes results in bladder dysfunction, a condition that can negatively impact the function of the bladder, including its ability to store and release urine. Symptoms of diabetic bladder dysfunction include:

  • Incontinence
  • Difficulty controlling the flow of urine
  • Loss of sensation in the bladder

Protecting Your Kidneys And Bladder From Diabetes

Diabetes is a complex and chronic condition that can impact the body in a multitude of ways. It can negatively impact two of the most important organs: the kidneys and bladder.

Kidney and bladder problems linked to diabetes can seriously impact your health. Since your bladder and kidneys are crucial, understanding the signs of diabetic-related issues affecting them is vital. If you or a loved one has diabetes and you think it might be affecting your kidneys or bladder, it's crucial to see a urologist nearby. They can provide a diagnosis and the right treatment promptly.

Diabetes Awareness Month

November is American Diabetes Month, a dedicated period to raise awareness about diabetes and its impact on millions of lives in the United States. During this month, various initiatives are organized to educate communities about diabetes prevention, management, and the importance of a healthy lifestyle.

It's a time to advocate for early detection, regular screenings, and a better understanding of this chronic condition. The goal is to inspire individuals to take proactive steps in maintaining their health and supporting loved ones affected by diabetes. Through campaigns, events, and outreach, American Diabetes Month serves as a reminder of the ongoing fight against diabetes and the significance of collective efforts to lead a diabetes-free life.


The attentive, compassionate physicians, providers, and staff at Adult Pediatric Urology & Urogynecology are committed to providing innovative, quality patient care in our state-of-the-art facility.

From screening and prevention to treatment and recovery, our health professionals will be there for you. Our team of dedicated physicians has been serving residents of Nebraska, Iowa, and South Dakota for more than 25 years.

Contact us today