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Diabetes kidney damage tests ‘missed’

Posted: 16/07/2013

Diabetes UK reports that one quarter of patients with diabetes do not get the kidney checks they need to detect early signs of damage. This is a very worrying statistic as kidney failure is a common complication in people with diabetes.

Around three million people in the UK are thought to have diabetes, with Type II being more common than Type I. The potential complications of diabetes include eye and foot problems, as well as kidney damage. Careful health checks are essential to pick up signs of diabetic retinopathy as early as possible so that treatment has the best chance of being successful. Time really is of the essence. A simple urine check, known as a urinary albumin check, sometimes followed by a blood test, can pick up early signs of kidney damage and hopefully slow its progression. It is therefore an essential part of a diabetes check-up but part of the problem may be that patients forget to take a urine sample to the check up with them. In any event the physician undertaking the check-up should not overlook the need for the urine test, it is vital.

Diabetes can be a devastating disease if not managed properly and kept under control. We see cases of delayed referral for diabetic retinopathy – sometimes tragically ending in blindness or limb amputation. The diabetic patients not getting the urinary albumin check, for whatever reason, are at increased risk of needing kidney dialysis and all the complications that that can give rise to. We urge all diabetic patients to make sure they ask for the urine test at their check-ups.

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