IgA Nephropathy

IgA nephropathy is a disorder of the kidney. It may start with minor changes in the kidneys, but it can lead to chronic kidney disease or kidney failure.

  • Causes

    IgA nephropathy is caused by a buildup of the IgA protein in the kidneys. IgA proteins help the body fight infections. There are more of these proteins when you have an infection like the cold or flu.

    The protein buildup can damage the filters of the kidneys. These filters are needed to clean the blood as it passes through. If the filters are damaged, then the kidneys are not able to clean the blood. Minor damage to the filters will not cause any changes. Major damage will worsen your health. IgA nephropathy can also cause some blood
    and protein
    to leak into the urine.

    Genetics may play a role in the buildup of IgA proteins in the kidney.

  • Definition

    IgA nephropathy is a disorder of the kidney. It may start with minor changes in the kidneys, but it can lead to chronic kidney disease or kidney failure.

    Anatomy of the Kidney
    Glomerulonephritis
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  • Diagnosis

    Your doctor will ask about your symptoms and medical history. A physical exam will be done.

    Your bodily fluids and tissues may be tested. This can be done with:

    • Urine tests
    • Blood tests
    • Biopsy

  • Prevention

    The cause of IgA nephropathy is not clear, so there are no known steps to prevent it.

    Tell your doctor if you have a family history of IgA nephropathy. You and your doctor can watch for signs of the disease and manage issues like high blood pressure and cholesterol.

  • Risk Factors

    Factors that increase your chance of IgA nephropathy is a family history of:

    • IgA nephropathy
    • Henoch schoenlein purpura

  • Symptoms

    Early stages of IgA nephropathy rarely have symptoms.

    The first sign of IgA nephropathy is often blood in the urine. It often occurs after an infection like a cold. Small amounts of blood in the urine may only be detected with a test. Larger amounts of blood in the urine can make the urine a pink or cola color.

    Later stage symptoms may also include:

    • Swelling of the hands and feet
    • Repeated upper respiratory infections
    • Fatigue
    • Muscle pain
    • Fever

  • Treatment

    There is no cure for IgA nephropathy. The goal of treatment is to slow damage to the kidneys. Your doctor will also make a plan to manage related symptoms, such as high blood pressure.

    Talk with your doctor about the best treatment plan for you. Treatment options include: