Hemodialysis in diabetic patients

Am J Kidney Dis. 2001 Oct;38(4 Suppl 1):S195-9. doi: 10.1053/ajkd.2001.27443.


Diabetic nephropathy is a leading cause of end-stage renal disease, and its prevalence and incidence vary greatly from country to country, being highest in the United States and Japan. In the United States, diabetic nephropathy accounts for approximately 40% of patients beginning renal replacement therapy. Type 2 diabetes is the largest and fastest-growing single disease that requires dialytic therapy. Most patients succumb to cardiovascular causes, including coronary artery disease and myocardial infarction, sudden death, cardiac failure, and stroke. The survival from cardiovascular complications is relatively better in East Asian countries and to a lesser extent in Mediterranean countries compared with countries that traditionally have higher cardiovascular death rates. Peripheral vascular disease and sepsis contribute to increased morbidity and mortality. Amputation of limbs secondary to peripheral vascular disease in particular has adverse effects on rehabilitation. Asymptomatic hypoglycemia may develop in hemodialysis patients. Such hypoglycemia is not associated with a hormonal balance but is postulated to be due to blunted hormonal response to hypoglycemia. Diabetic muscle infarction is another rare complication attributable to diabetic microangiopathy; magnetic resonance imaging may help in the diagnosis. Risk factors for increased mortality include advanced age, poor glycemic control before starting dialysis, smoking, left ventricular hypertrophy, hypoalbuminemia, and neuropathy, in particular, autonomic dysfunction. In addition to adequate dialysis, it is advisable to achieve tight blood pressure control (at least <140/90 mm Hg and preferably much lower), better blood glucose control (hemoglobin A(1c), <7%), correction of nutritional status, and appropriate foot care.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Amputation / statistics & numerical data
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / epidemiology
  • Comorbidity
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1 / epidemiology
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1 / therapy
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / epidemiology
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / therapy
  • Diabetic Nephropathies / epidemiology
  • Diabetic Nephropathies / therapy*
  • Diabetic Retinopathy / epidemiology
  • Disease Progression
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hypertension / epidemiology
  • Hypotension, Orthostatic / epidemiology
  • Incidence
  • Kidney Failure, Chronic / epidemiology
  • Kidney Failure, Chronic / therapy*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prevalence
  • Renal Dialysis*
  • Risk Factors
  • Smoking / epidemiology
  • Survival Rate