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IgA nephropathy is also known as Berger’s disease, is a disease that causes damage to the tiny filters inside the kidneys.
IgA is a protein that helps you fight infections. In people with IgA nephropathy, these proteins can build up and form clumps inside the kidneys or tiny filters. These clumps of proteins damage the glomeruli in the filter which can lead to CKD.
It is unclear what causes IgA nephropathy although, it can occur after you have had a cold or similar infection, but can also happen if you have not had any defining infection.
In the early stages of IgA nephropathy, there may not be any symptoms. The first sign of IgA nephropathy can appear when you have a cold, sore throat or other infection. When this happens, you may notice your urine is pink or brown, which is a sign that you have blood in your urine. Some people also have protein in their urine.
A routine urine test at a regular check-up can show signs of IgA nephropathy. If you have tiny amounts of blood in your urine, you may not be able to see it, but it will show up in a urine test (hematuria) If you have IgA nephropathy, the tiny clumps of blood in your urine will be shaped like tubes, because they form inside the kidneys’ tube-like filters called glomeruli.
If both your blood and urine tests show signs that your kidneys are damaged, your nephrologist might want you to have a kidney biopsy. A kidney biopsy can tell your doctor if you have IgA nephropathy.
There is no cure for IgA nephropathy, but treatments can help to prevent further damage to your kidneys. If you have IgA nephropathy, you should have regular lab and visits with your nephrologist.
Your nephrologist may treat your proteinuria, and use other medications to help slow down the disease. You also may be asked to see a dietitian for specific diet changes regarding IgA nephropathy, treatment is very individualized.
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