Dear Mayo Clinic: My father was recently diagnosed with diabetic kidney disease. Is there a chance this can be reversed, or will he have it for life? What changes, if any, should he be making to his diet?
Answer: It is not uncommon for people who have diabetes to develop kidney problems. When diagnosed early, it may be possible to stop diabetic kidney disease and fix the damage. If the disease continues, however, the damage may not be reversible.
Diabetic kidney disease, also called diabetic nephropathy, happens when diabetes damages blood vessels and other cells in the kidneys. This makes it hard for them to work as they should. In the early stages, diabetic kidney disease has no symptoms. That's why it is so important for people with diabetes to regularly have tests that check kidney function.