IgA nephropathy

IgA nephropathy, also called Berger’s disease, is a kidney disease that occurs when the antibody immunoglobulin A (IgA) begins to deposit in the kidneys.

This causes local inflammation, which over time can disrupt the kidneys’ primary function of filtering waste, excess water, and electrolytes from the blood.

Kidney damage that has occurred can be detected by the presence of protein or blood in the urine, high blood pressure, and swelling of the legs.

The disease progresses slowly over many years, but its course is different for each person.

In some of those affected, the presence of blood in the urine is detected, without this causing complications. It is possible both to achieve complete remission and to reach the end stage of kidney failure.

What are the symptoms?

In the early stages, the disease does not cause clinical manifestations, it is possible to remain unnoticed for decades.

In such cases, suspicions of its presence may appear during a routine urine test, in which proteins or single erythrocytes are detected, which are not visible to the naked eye /microscopic hematuria/.


The clinical manifestations of the disease with impaired kidney function are:

• Coke or tea colored urine due to the contained erythrocytes;

• Recurrent occurrence of cola- or tea-colored urine, sometimes even visible blood in the urine, usually during or after an upper respiratory tract infection;

• Foam in the toilet water from the presence of protein in the urine;

• High blood pressure;

• Pains on the side of the back under the ribs /hip/;

If you notice blood in your urine, seek medical attention. Hematuria can be caused by intense exercise, certain foods, medications, or a urinary tract infection.

However, prolonged or repeated presence of blood in the urine may be a serious medical problem and should be investigated.

It is also advisable to consult a doctor if you notice the presence of foam when urinating or if you suddenly notice swelling of the hands or feet.

What are the causes?

Scientists are not sure what exactly causes the deposition of immunoglobulin A in the kidneys, but some factors have been identified that cause the disease:

Genes, as this type of nephropathy occurs more often in some families and in larger groups of people, such as ethnic others.

• Liver diseases such as cirrhosis – a clinical condition in which connective tissue displaces normal healthy liver tissue, and chronic hepatitis B and C infections.

• Celiac disease – a digestive disorder that is caused by the consumption of gluten – a protein found in most cereals;

• Dermatitis herpetiformis – a disease characterized by itching and the appearance of vesicles on the skin, which is due to gluten intolerance;

• Infections such as with the HIV virus and some bacteria;

Treatment of IgA Nephropathy

• If your blood pressure is high, take measures to normalize it.

Keeping blood pressure levels within normal limits can help slow kidney damage.

For this purpose you must:

– limit salt intake with food;
– regulate your body weight;
– maintain at least the minimum necessary physical activity;
– consume alcohol in moderate quantities;

• Track your blood pressure levels daily;

• Consume foods with a lower protein content, as this will slow the progression of the disease.

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