Immunoglobulin A (IgA) nephropathy is a chronic kidney disease that affects a significant number of people worldwide.
It is characterized by the abnormal accumulation of a protein called IgA in the kidneys, leading to progressive
kidney damage and, in some cases, kidney failure.
. In this article, we will explore in detail what exactly Immunoglobulin A (IgA) Nephropathy is, its causes,
symptoms, diagnosis, treatment and more.
What is Immunoglobulin A (IgA) Nephropathy?
Immunoglobulin A (IgA) nephropathy, also known as Berger’s disease, is a chronic inflammatory kidney disease. It is characterized by the accumulation of immunoglobulin A, an immune system protein, in the kidneys.
This abnormal accumulation of IgA causes inflammation and damage to the small blood vessels in the kidneys, which can lead to progressive loss of kidney function.
Causes of Immunoglobulin A (IgA) Nephropathy
The exact cause of Immunoglobulin A (IgA) nephropathy is not known with certainty.
However, it is believed that there is a genetic predisposition to develop the disease, as familial cases of IgA nephropathy have been observed.
In addition, it has been suggested that respiratory or gastrointestinal infections may trigger an abnormal immune response, leading to the accumulation of IgA in the kidneys.
Diagnosis of Immunoglobulin A (IgA) Nephropathy
Diagnosis of Immunoglobulin A (IgA) Nephropathy involves a comprehensive evaluation that includes:
Symptoms of Immunoglobulin A (IgA) nephropathy
The symptoms of immunoglobulin A (IgA) nephropathy can vary widely from person to person. Some patients may have no obvious symptoms in the early stages of the disease, while others may experience symptoms such as:
Blood in the urine (hematuria):
The presence of blood in the urine is one of the most common symptoms of IgA Nephropathy. The blood may be visible to the naked eye or only detected by laboratory tests.
Recurrent urinary tract infections:
Some people with IgA Nephropathy may experience recurrent urinary tract infections due to kidney damage.
Flank or back pain:
Flank or back pain can be a symptom of IgA Nephropathy, especially when accompanied by blood in the urine.
High blood pressure:
High blood pressure is another symptom that may be present in patients with IgA Nephropathy.
It is important to note that these symptoms are not unique to IgA nephropathy and may be associated with other conditions. If you experience any of these symptoms, it is essential to seek medical attention to obtain a proper diagnosis.
Treatment for Immunoglobulin A (IgA) Nephropathy
Treatment of Immunoglobulin A (IgA) Nephropathy is based on several factors, including the severity of the disease, the symptoms present, and the progression of kidney damage. Some treatment options include:
Blood pressure control:
Keeping blood pressure under control is crucial to slow disease progression. Antihypertensive medications may be prescribed and a healthy lifestyle is recommended.
In some cases, anti-inflammatory medications may be prescribed to reduce inflammation in the kidneys and control symptoms.
Management of proteinuria:
In patients with IgA Nephropathy and high levels of protein in the urine (proteinuria), medications may be prescribed to reduce protein loss and protect the kidneys.
Treatment of infections:
For recurrent urinary tract infections, antibiotics may be prescribed to treat and prevent additional infections.
It is critical that patients with IgA Nephropathy closely follow their physician’s instructions and have regular visits to monitor kidney function and adjust treatment as needed.
Immunoglobulin A (IgA) nephropathy is a chronic kidney disease that can have a significant impact on the lives of those who suffer from it. With early diagnosis and appropriate treatment, it is possible to control symptoms, delay disease progression and preserve kidney function. If you suspect you may have IgA nephropathy, do not hesitate to seek medical attention for proper diagnosis and treatment.
It is very important that this diagnosis be made by a specialist Urologist such as the Dr. Moises Vidal.
For more information make an appointment and request a consultation.