About iga nephropathy
What is iga nephropathy?
IgA nephropathy (nuh-FROP-uh-thee), also known as Berger's disease, is a kidney disease that occurs when an antibody called immunoglobulin A (IgA) lodges in your kidneys. This results in local inflammation that, over time, may hamper your kidneys' ability to filter wastes from your blood.
IgA nephropathy usually progresses slowly over many years, but the course of the disease in each person is uncertain. Some people leak blood in their urine without developing problems, some eventually achieve complete remission, and others develop end-stage kidney failure.
No cure exists for IgA nephropathy, but certain medications can slow its course. Keeping your blood pressure under control and reducing your cholesterol levels also slow disease progression.
What are the symptoms for iga nephropathy?
IgA nephropathy usually doesn't cause symptoms in the early stages. The disease can go unnoticed for decades and is sometimes first suspected when routine tests reveal protein and red blood cells in your urine that can't be seen without a microscope (microscopic hematuria).
Signs and symptoms of IgA nephropathy when kidney function is impaired include:
- Cola- or tea-colored urine (caused by red blood cells in the urine)
- Repeated episodes of cola- or tea-colored urine, sometimes even visible blood in your urine, usually during or after an upper respiratory or other type of infection
- Pain in the side(s) of your back below your ribs (flank)
- Swelling (edema) in your hands and feet
- High blood pressure
When to see a doctor
Make an appointment with your doctor if you notice blood in your urine. Urinary bleeding may be caused by strenuous exercise, some foods, medications or a urinary tract infection.
But prolonged or repeated bleeding may indicate a serious medical problem and should always be evaluated. Also see your doctor if you develop sudden swelling in your hands and feet.
What are the causes for iga nephropathy?
Your kidneys are two bean-shaped, fist-sized organs located at the small of your back, one on each side of your spine. Each kidney contains tiny blood vessels (glomeruli) that filter waste, excess water and other substances from your blood as they pass through your kidneys. The filtered blood re-enters your bloodstream, while the waste material passes into your bladder and out of your body when you urinate.
Immunoglobulin A (IgA) is an antibody that plays a key role in your immune system by attacking invading pathogens and fighting infections. But in IgA nephropathy, this antibody collects in the glomeruli, causing inflammation (glomerulonephritis) and gradually affecting their filtering ability.
Researchers don't know exactly what causes IgA deposits in the kidneys, but these conditions or factors may be associated with the development of IgA nephropathy:
- Genes, because IgA nephropathy is more common in some families and in certain ethnic groups
- Liver diseases, including cirrhosis, a condition in which scar tissue replaces normal tissue within the liver, and chronic hepatitis B and C infections
- Celiac disease, a digestive condition triggered by eating gluten, a protein found in most grains
- Dermatitis herpetiformis, an itchy, blistering skin disease that stems from gluten intolerance
- Infections, including HIV infection and some bacterial infections
What are the treatments for iga nephropathy?
There's no cure for IgA nephropathy and no definitive way of knowing what course the disease will take. Some people experience complete remission and others live normal lives with low-grade blood or protein in their urine (hematuria or proteinuria).
Treatment with a number of medications can slow the progress of the disease and help you manage symptoms such as high blood pressure, protein in the urine (proteinuria), and swelling (edema) in your hands and feet.
Medications used to treat IgA nephropathy include:
- High blood pressure medications. A common complication of IgA nephropathy is high blood pressure. Taking angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors or angiotensin receptor blockers (ARBs) can lower your blood pressure and reduce the amount of protein (albumin) in your urine.
- Omega-3 fatty acids. These beneficial fats, available in dietary fish oil supplements, may reduce inflammation in the glomeruli without harmful side effects. Get advice from your doctor before you start using supplements.
- Immunosuppressants. In some cases, corticosteroid medications, such as prednisone, and other potent drugs that suppress the immune response (immunosuppressants) may be used to help protect kidney function. But these drugs can cause a range of serious side effects, such as high blood pressure or high blood sugar, so their benefits must be carefully weighed against the risks.
- Statin therapy. Cholesterol-lowering medications may help to slow damage to your kidneys.
- Mycophenolate mofetil (CellCept). Most studies so far have failed to show a benefit for using this medication, but it has been used successfully in some people who have persistent protein in their urine despite treatment with medications that lower blood pressure.
The ultimate goal is to avoid the need for kidney dialysis or kidney transplantation. But in more advanced cases, dialysis or transplantation may be necessary.
What are the risk factors for iga nephropathy?
Although the exact cause of IgA nephropathy is unknown, these factors may increase your risk of developing this condition:
- Sex. In North America and western Europe, IgA nephropathy affects at least twice as many men as it does women.
- Ethnicity. IgA nephropathy is more common in Caucasians and Asians than it is in s.
- Family history. In some cases, IgA nephropathy appears to run in families, indicating that genetic factors may contribute to the disease.
Is there a cure/medications for iga nephropathy?
There is no cure for IgA Nephropathy, as well as there is no reliable way to indicate how it will affect the individuals. However, certain medications can be taken to manage the symptoms of the conditions, including blood pressure and cholesterol levels.
- Medications – Angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) Inhibitors or Angiotensin Receptor Blockers (ARBs) are prescribed to lower the level of blood pressure and decrease the loss of protein.
- Immunosuppressants – In some patients, corticosteroid medications like Prednisone are given to suppress the immune response to prevent the immune system from attacking the glomeruli. However, the medications might cause side effects y increasing the blood pressure, blood glucose, and risk of infections.
- Omega-3-fatty acids – This fat is available in supplements or in dietary fish sources, which might lower the inflammatory reaching in the glomeruli, without causing any side effects.
- Statin – Statins are prescribed to lower the cholesterol level and slower the kidney damage
- Diuretics – It is used to eliminate the extra fluid from the blood, thus improving the control of blood pressure.