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Diabetic nephropathy is secondary to diabetes. In early stage, the kidney damage can be reversed completely. Therefore, early diagnosis is very important for the patients. The diagnosis methods for diabetic nephropathy mainly include:
Microalbuminuria refers to small amounts of protein in urine. It is the first sign of kidney disease in diabetes. It is often not detected by a routine urine test. Screening for microalbuminuria helps to identify kidney disease in the early stages. If left untreated, microalbuminuria will develop into heavy proteinuria. Once clinical proteinuria occurs, diabetic nephropathy will develop at a fast speed and may progress into renal failure in several years.
Urine dipstick test
It is used to test the presence of protein in urine and it is usually used as an initial screening test for the patients with diabetes. If there is presence of protein in urine, the strip will change in color. If there is protein loss in urine, further tests for microalbuminuria and quantitate protein tests in urine will be done.
Imaging tests are often recommended to the patients with diabetic nephropathy. The tests are used to assess the size and structure of the kidney. In early stages of diabetic, the kidneys appear enlarged from hyper filtration. As kidney damage progresses, the kidneys will become smaller gradually.
Creatinine is byproduct of muscle and is filtered out of body by kidneys normally.However, if kidneys are damaged in diabetic nephropathy, serum creatinine level will rise gradually. Blood test to determine creatinine levels shows how well your kidneys are working. Along with serum creatinine, blood urea nitrogen test is as important as serum creatinine in assessing renal function.
The above are the main diagnosis tests for diabetic nephropathy. In different stages, different diagnosis tests will be recommended to the patients.