IgA nephropathy, also known as Berger's disease, is the most common primary glomerulonephritis in the world among patients undergoing kidney biopsy affecting about 200,000-350,000 people per year. It occurs more commonly in Caucasians and Asians and is often diagnosed in the late teens or early adulthood. It accounts for approximately 30% of all biopsies in Asian countries where it is also a leading cause of end stage renal failure and need for dialysis. It accounts for approximately 10% kidney biopsies in the United States. IgA nephropathy is caused by deposits of an immunoglobulin protein IgA inside the filters(glomeruli) of the kidney. This eventually leads to leakage of protein into the urine and subsequently may lead to edema in the hands and legs. IgA nephropathy is often times initially discovered within days of an upper respiratory tract infection. The initial presenting symptoms is blood in the urine, either visible to the eye(mascroscopic) or microscopic. Blood in the urine is referred to as hematuria. Initially, kidney function may remain normal. As the disease progresses, however, persistent blood and protein leaking into the urine along with high blood pressure can lead to a further decline in kidney function. Treatment of IgA nephropathy depends on age, general health, and symptoms. Treatment may include blood pressure lowering medications such as ACE inhibitors (which also work by preventing protein loss in the urine), corticosteroids, prescription strength fish oil, and cholesterol lowering medications.
If you have previously been diagnosed with IgA nephropathy or feel that some of these symptoms may pertain to you, it is important to establish care with a Nephrologist. Please call 817-233-6923 to schedule a consultation.