IgA nephropathy, also known as Berger’s disease, is a kidney disorder characterized by the accumulation of a germ-fighting protein called immunoglobulin A (IgA) in the kidneys. This leads to inflammation, causing gradual impairment in the kidney’s ability to filter waste from the blood.
The progression of IgA nephropathy varies among individuals, with some experiencing only blood in their urine without other complications. Others may face more severe issues, such as protein leakage in the urine and a decline in kidney function, which can ultimately lead to kidney failure.
While there is currently no cure for IgA nephropathy, medical interventions can help slow down its advancement. Treatment focuses on reducing inflammation, minimizing protein leakage, and preventing kidney failure. Some individuals may achieve a state of remission where the disease becomes inactive. Additionally, managing blood pressure and cholesterol levels can contribute to slowing down the disease’s progression.
In the early stages, IgA nephropathy often remains asymptomatic, and individuals may not experience any noticeable health effects for a decade or more. Occasionally, the presence of the disease is detected through routine medical examinations, where signs like protein and red blood cells in the urine, visible under a microscope, may be observed.
Symptoms of IgA nephropathy may include the following:
If the condition progresses to renal failure, the following symptoms may occur:
If you suspect you have symptoms of IgA nephropathy, it’s crucial to seek medical attention promptly. Seeing a doctor is particularly important if you observe blood in your urine, as this could be a sign of a significant health issue, though other conditions can also cause this symptom. Additionally, if you experience persistent or recurring blood in the urine or sudden swelling in your hands or feet, it’s essential to get a checkup as these could be indicators of kidney problems. Timely medical intervention, such as dialysis or a kidney transplant, can be life-saving and greatly extend life expectancy for those facing kidney failure.
The kidneys, two bean-shaped organs located on either side of the spine, play a vital role in filtering waste, excess water, and other substances from the blood through tiny blood vessels known as glomeruli. These glomeruli act as filters, returning the purified blood to the circulation while eliminating waste products through urine. However, in the case of IgA nephropathy, a condition where the antibody protein Immunoglobulin A (IgA) accumulates in the glomeruli, it leads to inflammation and impairs their filtering function, ultimately affecting kidney health over time.
The precise cause of IgA nephropathy, a condition characterized by IgA build-up in the kidneys, remains unknown. However, certain factors have been associated with its development:
The cause of IgA nephropathy remains unknown. However, certain factors have been associated with an increased risk of developing the condition:
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