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) builds up in your kidneys. This leads to localized inflammation that, over time, can affect your kidneys’ ability to filter waste products from your blood.
IgA nephropathy usually progresses slowly over the years, but the course of the disease varies from person to person. Some people lick blood in their urine without developing problems, some eventually achieve complete remission, and others develop end-stage kidney disease.
IgA nephropathy does not usually cause symptoms in the early stages, so the disease can go undetected for years or decades. It is sometimes suspected when routine tests reveal proteins and red blood cells in your urine that are not visible without a microscope (microscopic hematuria).
Signs and symptoms of IgA nephropathy include:
Cola or tea-colored urine (caused by red blood cells in the urine)
Repeated episodes of cola or tea-colored urine and sometimes visible blood in your urine, usually during or after an upper respiratory tract infection or other infection and sometimes after strenuous exercise
Foamy urine from protein getting into your urine (proteinuria)
Pain in one or both sides of your back, under your ribs
In a kidney
Kidney Cross Section Open the pop-up dialog box
Your kidneys are two bean-shaped, fist-sized organs located on the lower back of your back, one on each side of your spine. Every kidney contains tiny blood vessels that filter waste, excess water, and other substances from your blood as they pass through your kidneys. The filtered blood returns to your bloodstream, while the waste products get into your bladder and out of your body as you urinate.
Although the exact cause of IgA nephropathy is unknown, these factors can increase your risk of developing the disease:
Sex. In North America and Western Europe, IgA nephropathy affects at least twice as many men as women.
Ethnicity. IgA nephropathy is more common in whites and Asians than blacks.
The course of IgA nephropathy varies from person to person. Some people have had the disease for years with little or no problems. Indeed, many cases go undetected. Other people develop one or more of the following complications:
Arterial hypertension. Damage to your kidneys from IgA deposits can increase your blood pressure, and high blood pressure can damage your kidneys further.
High cholesterol. High cholesterol can increase the risk of a heart attack.
You cannot prevent IgA nephropathy. If you have a family history of the disease, talk to your doctor about what you can do to keep your kidneys healthy, such as: B. to lower high blood pressure and keep your cholesterol at a healthy level.