IgA Nephropathy

Nephropathy refers to damage, disease , or other abnormalities of the kidney. IgA nephropathy is a kidney disorder in which antibodies to a protein called IgA build up in kidney tissue.

It is also called Berger’s disease.

IgA is a protein that helps the body fight infections. IgA nephropathy (Berger's disease) occurs when too much of this protein is deposited in the kidneys. IgA builds up inside the small blood vessels of the kidney. Structures in the kidney called glomeruli become inflamed.

IgA nephropathy (Berger's disease) is a form of mesangial proliferative nephritis.

The disorder can appear suddenly (acute), or progress slowly over many years (chronic glomerulonephritis).

Risk factors include:

  • A personal or family history of IgA nephropathy or Henoch Schonlein purpura, a form of vasculitis that affects many parts of the body
  • Caucasian or Asian ethnicity

There may be no symptoms for many years.

Symptoms include:

  • Bloody urine that starts during or soon after a respiratory infection
  • Repeated episodes of dark or bloody urine
  • Hand and feet swelling
  • Symptoms of chronic kidney disease

IgA nephropathy usually is discovered after one or more episodes of dark or bloody urine in a person with no other symptoms of kidney disorder.

There are no specific changes seen during a physical examination. Occasionally, blood pressure may be high or swelling of the body may be present.

Tests include:

  • Creatinine and blood urea nitrogen (BUN) to measure kidney function
  • Urinalysis will show blood and protein in the urine
  • Kidney biopsy confirms the diagnosis
  • Urine immunoelectrophoresis

The goal of treatment is to relieve symptoms and prevent or delay chronic renal failure.

Medicines may be given to control high blood pressure and swelling (edema). Angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors and angiotensin receptor blockers (ARBs) are used. Controlling blood pressure is the most important measure to delay kidney damage.

Corticosteroids, other immunosuppressive drugs, and fish oil have also been used to treat this disorder.

Salt and fluids may be restricted to control swelling. A low to moderateprotein diet may be recommended in some cases.

Some people will need to take medicines to lower their cholesterol.

Eventually, many patients must be treated for chronic kidney disease.

IgA nephropathy progresses slowly. In many cases, it does not progress at all. High blood pressure, large quantities of protein in the urine, and increased BUN or creatinine levels (blood tests that reflect kidney functioning) indicate a higher risk for progression of the disorder.

About 25% of adults with IgA nephropathy develop end-stage kidney failure within about 25 years.

  • Acute nephritic syndrome or nephrotic syndrome
  • Chronic kidney failure
  • End-stage kidney disease

Call your health care provider if you have bloody urine or if your urine output decreases.

Treating disorders such as high blood pressure can help prevent acute kidney failure.

Nephropathy - IgA; Berger's disease

Our Locations

CNMG

Capital Nephrology Medical Group

333 University Av., Suite 120

Sacramento, CA 95825

Tel: 916-929-8564

Fax: 916-929-4529



View Office Locations in a larger map

We care about your and your family members' health and helping you make wise care decisions.

Understanding what kind of care you and your family members need is important.

If you think you or your family member has a medical or psychiatric emergency, call 911 or go to the nearest hospital. Do not attempt to access emergency care through this website.