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Year : 2020  |  Volume : 66  |  Issue : 4  |  Page : 182-183

Progression of diabetic kidney disease: Who is at risk?

Department of Nephrology, Seth GS Medical College and KEM Hospital, Mumbai, Maharashtra, India

Date of Submission29-Aug-2020
Date of Decision10-Sep-2020
Date of Acceptance07-Oct-2020
Date of Web Publication27-Oct-2020

Correspondence Address:
T Jamale
Department of Nephrology, Seth GS Medical College and KEM Hospital, Mumbai, Maharashtra
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/jpgm.JPGM_1014_20

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How to cite this article:
Jamale T. Progression of diabetic kidney disease: Who is at risk?. J Postgrad Med 2020;66:182-3

How to cite this URL:
Jamale T. Progression of diabetic kidney disease: Who is at risk?. J Postgrad Med [serial online] 2020 [cited 2023 Jun 9];66:182-3. Available from:

Inhibition of rennin angiotensin system is the cornerstone of the management of diabetic kidney disease (DKD) for decades[1] with latest addition of SGLT2 inhibition.[2] Despite these measures, after the onset of overt nephropathy in type 2 diabetes, kidney disease is progressive and is a major cause of End Stage Renal Disease (ESRD) worldwide. Identifying and addressing the new modifiable risk factors can potentially add to the optimum management of DKD. Current definition and classification of chronic kidney disease (CKD)[3] doesn't give an insight into the risk of progression of the disease. This is especially so in patients with no significant albuminuria and mildly reduced glomerular filtration rate (GFR) who in fact are largely contributing to the rising incidence of CKD. Although most of these individuals will never progress to more severe or dialysis requiring renal failure; it is important to distinguish “progressors” from “nonprogrerssors” in earlier stages of CKD so as to effectively focus the therapies to the patients who deserve them the most.

In this issue of JPGM,[4] Huanget al. evaluated a cohort of 320 patients with type 2 diabetes and CKD stage 3 for the identification of the risk of disease progression over an observation period of 7 years. They have reported that female sex, change in eGFR in first 2 years, fluctuations in diabetes and blood pressure control were independent risk factors for disease progression. Male sex is associated with significantly higher risk of progression of kidney disease in the reported literature.[5] On the contrary, Huang et al[4] have noted that female sex was an independent risk factor for progression in their patients, a finding that deserve further exploration looking at genetic, hormonal as well as factors like socioeconomic status, and gender bias in access to the health care which is not uncommon in east Asian countries. Change in eGFR in the first 2 years was identified as another risk factor for progression, for which there may be two possible explanations. First, initial GFR decline identifies patients at the risk of progression due to genetic or traditional risk factors and so are destined to progress faster than those whose kidney function was stable in the first few years after diagnosis. Second, renal function decline in the first 2 years may be due to episodes of Acute Kidney Injury (AKI) which are not only more common in patients with underlying CKD but are known to recover by maladaptive repair mechanisms[6] leading to residual damage and accounting for apparently faster progression of CKD.

Observational studies are limited by their design and definitive conclusions about causality of the observed associations merit further research. Two other risk factors that were found to be associated with CKD progression in this study[4] need careful interpretation: namely fluctuations in the blood pressure and blood sugar. Increasingly, it is realized that clinically measured blood pressure [BP] is not a reliable metric of BP control[7] and conclusions based on such readings can be misleading. It is well known that BP regulation is one of the important functions of the kidney; and that controlling the patient's BP becomes increasingly difficult with progression of the stage of CKD. Similarly, it is well known that blood glucose control can get adversely affected with renal function decline. Insulin resistance is increased in earlier CKD stages[8] and risk of hypoglycemia increases in advanced renal failure due to impaired degradation of insulin.[9] These factors may explain the observed variations in the blood glucose levels in the present study.[4]

The present study[4] also poses an important question about definition and classification of CKD in population over age of 60 years. CKD has long been defined and staged by serum creatinine based eGFR which can greatly overestimate the incidence of CKD (especially CKD stage 3) in elderly population.[10] This not only is the cause of panic and anxiety, but also diverts the focus of preventive and therapeutic interventions. Age calibration of CKD classification[11] is one of the suggestions to account for physiological aging-related decrease in GFR and identify those who are likely to develop clinical consequences of reduced GFR. Also, more objective measurements of renal function such as mGFR (measured GFR) should be considered in future research studies analyzing risk factors for CKD progression.

 :: References Top

Fink HA, Ishani A, Taylor BC, Greer NL, MacDonald R, Rossini D, et al . Screening for, monitoring, and treatment of chronic kidney disease stages 1 to 3: A systematic review for the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force and for an American College of Physicians Clinical Practice Guideline. Ann Intern Med 2012;156:570-81.  Back to cited text no. 1
Neuen BL, Young T, Heerspink HJL, Neal B, Perkovic V, Billot L, et al . SGLT2 inhibitors for the prevention of kidney failure in patients with type 2 diabetes: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Lancet Diabetes Endocrinol 2019;7:845-54.  Back to cited text no. 2
Kidney Disease: Improving Global Outcomes (KDIGO) CKD Work Group. KDIGO 2012 clinical practice guideline for the evaluation and management of chronic kidney disease. Kidney Int Suppl 2013;3:1-150.  Back to cited text no. 3
Huang CH, Chen CP, Huang YY, Hsu BRS. Modifiable factors related to 7-year renal outcomes in subjects with type 2 diabetes and chronic kidney disease stage 3. J Postgrad Med 2020;66:187-93.  Back to cited text no. 4
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Tsai WC, Wu HY, Peng YS, Ko MJ, Wu MS, Hung KY, et al . Risk factors for development and progression of chronic kidney disease: A systematic review and exploratory meta-analysis. Medicine (Baltimore) 2016;95:e3013.  Back to cited text no. 5
Silver SA, Siew ED. Follow-up care in acute kidney injury: Lost in transition. Adv Chronic Kidney Dis 2017;24:246-52.  Back to cited text no. 6
Piper MA, Evans CV, Burda BU, Margolis KL, O'Connor E, Whitlock EP. Diagnostic and predictive accuracy of blood pressure screening methods with consideration of rescreening intervals: A systematic review for the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force. Ann Intern Med 2015;162:192-204.  Back to cited text no. 7
Mak RH, DeFronzo RA. Glucose and insulin metabolism in uremia. Nephron 1992;61:377-82.  Back to cited text no. 8
Alvestrand A. Carbohydrate and insulin metabolism in renal failure. Kidney Int Suppl 1997;62:S48-52.  Back to cited text no. 9
Glassock RJ, Winearls C. An epidemic of chronic kidney disease: Fact or fiction? Nephrol Dial Transplant 2008;23:1117-21.  Back to cited text no. 10
Glassock R, Delanaye P, El Nahas M. An age-calibrated classification of chronic kidney disease. JAMA 2015;314:559-60.  Back to cited text no. 11


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