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J Natl Med Assoc. Nov 2004; 96(11): 1445–1454.
PMCID: PMC2568593

Diabetic nephropathy--a review of the natural history, burden, risk factors and treatment.


The earliest clinical evidence of diabetic nephropathy is microalbuminuria. Progression from microalbuminuria to overt nephropathy occurs in 20-40% within a 10-year period with approximately 20% of these patients progressing to end-stage renal disease. End-stage renal disease develops in 50% of type-1 diabetes patients with overt nephropathy within 10 years and in more than 75% by 20 years in the absence of treatment. In type-2 diabetes, a greater proportion of patients have microalbuminuria and overt nephropathy at or shortly after diagnosis of diabetes. The incidence of diabetes is increasing worldwide, with subsequent increase in the incidence of diabetic nephropathy. The risk factors identified in the development of DN from longitudinal and cross-sectional studies include race, genetic susceptibility, hypertension, hyperglycemia, hyperfiltration, smoking, advanced age, male sex, and high-protein diet. Treatment interventions in diabetic nephropathy include glycemic control, treatment of hypertension, hyperlipidemia, cessation of smoking, protein restriction, and renal replacement therapy. Multifactorial approach includes combined therapy targeting hyperglycemia, hypertension, microalbuminuria, and dyslipidemia.

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