I understand diabetes can cause kidney problems. Are there any treatments or other preventative measures that can reduce or prevent kidney problems?
The following are the recommendations from the Joslin Center for preserving renal function in diabetes mellitus
Tight control of blood glucose levels (A1C less than 7 percent)
Tight control of blood pressure: aim for lower than 130/80
Control of lipids: LDL (“bad”) cholesterol should be less than 100 mg/dl, HDL (“good”) cholesterol should be above 50 mg/dl and triglycerides should be less than 150 mg/dl
No cigarette smoking
Blood pressure-lowering drugs, such as ACE inhibitors or angiotensin receptor blockers (ARBs), are effective in protecting the kidney from damage if you have signs of diabetic kidney disease
Diabetes does cause kidney problems, and is the leading cause of end stage renal disease in industrialized world (see Cecil Medicine, Chapter 126, Diabetes and The Kidney). Though neither fully prevents the development of kidney problems entirely, tight glucose control together with blood pressure control with an ACE-inhibitor or ARB slow the progression of kidney disease and reduce all cause mortality in diabetics. Early on, this is the mainstay of prevention and treatment (tight glucose control plus RAAS inhibition), but reduction of other risk factors plays an important role as well. Stopping smoking, exercising, and losing weight (while maintaining tight glucose control) are important steps (see Cecil Medicine, Ch 126, again).