Hello there, In today’s article we will be enlightening you about another kidney disease known as IgA Nephropathy. If you have never heard about this renal disease then don’t worry, we got you! Read on to know more about IgA Nephropathy.

What is IgA Nephropathy?

IgA nephropathy, frequently referred to as Berger’s disease, is a kidney illness caused by the formation of IgA deposition in the kidneys, which cause inflammation and damage to the renal tissues. Antibodies, such as IgA, are proteins produced by the immune system to protect the body against foreign substances like bacteria and viruses. The majority of patients with IgA nephropathy are treated by a nephrologist, which is a specialist who focuses on treating kidney illness.

Symptoms of IgA Nephropathy

IgA nephropathy might have no indications in its initial stages, and it might go unnoticed for years or even decades. Hematuria, or blood in the urine, is the most frequent sign when it first appears. Hematuria is a symptom of glomeruli injury. 

During or shortly after a cold, sore throat, or other respiratory illness, blood in the urine may occur. It’s possible that the volume of blood is insufficient. Urine may become pink or have a tea or cola tint to it. Urine that is black or crimson is not uncommon. It’s so tiny that only specialized medical testing can identify it.

The following are symptoms and indications of IgA nephropathy:

  • Rbcs in the urine create cola or tea-colored urine.
  • Frequent occurrences of cola- or tea-colored urine, with or without visible blood, generally during or after an upper respiratory or other infection, and occasionally after vigorous exercise.
  • Protein releasing into your pee causes foamy urine also called (proteinuria).
  • Inflammation beneath your ribs on one or both sides of your back.
  • Edema and inflammation in your feet and hands.
  • Blood pressure is too high.

Other Symptoms:

  • An exhausted sensation
  • Sleepiness
  • Itchiness or numbness all throughout the body
  • Skin that is dry
  • Headaches
  • Loss of weight
  • Lack of appetite
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Having difficulty sleeping
  • Having difficulty concentrating
  • Skin discoloration
  • Muscle cramps

Albuminuria is another sign of IgA nephropathy, which occurs when a person’s urine includes an excess of albumin, a blood protein, or excessive quantities of protein in the urine. The primary protein in the blood is albumin. Most proteins in the blood are kept from seeping into the urine by healthy kidneys. Large quantities of protein escape out of the circulation into the urine when the glomeruli are injured.

The blood loses its ability to absorb additional fluid from the body when albumin escapes into the urine. Edema, or swelling, is caused by an excess of fluid in the body. It generally occurs in the legs, feet, or ankles, although it can also occur in the hands or face. Albuminuria can also be identified by foamy urine. IgA nephropathy can cause both hematuria and albuminuria in certain persons.

Causes of IgA Nephropathy

Immunoglobulin A (IgA) is an antibody that helps your immune system fight diseases by destroying foreign microorganisms. However, in IgA nephropathy, the antibody binds to the glomeruli, producing inflammation (glomerulonephritis) and reducing their filtration capacity over time.

Experts aren’t sure what produces IgA deposition in the kidneys, however these factors might be involved:

  • Celiac disease – a kind of gluten intolerance. This digestive disease is brought on by eating gluten, a protein present in most cereals.
  • Genes. IgA nephropathy is particularly frequent in particular cultural groups and families.
  • Infections – HIV and certain bacterial diseases are among them.
  • Diseases of the liver – Cirrhosis, a disease during which scar tissue substitutes normal liver tissue, and chronic hepatitis B and C infections are among them.

Who is more prone to get IgA nephropathy and how prevalent is it?

Apart from diabetes and hypertension, IgA nephropathy is among the most prevalent kidney illnesses. IgA nephropathy can strike at any age, although the onset of kidney disease is most common in persons who are in their twenties to late thirties. Although IgA nephropathy affects people all over the world, it is more frequent among Asians and Caucasians.

If a person has the following conditions, he or she is more prone to suffer IgA nephropathy:

  • They are Asian or Caucasian.
  • If they have a genetic history of IgA nephropathy or IgA vasculitis, a condition in which the body’s tiny blood vessels become inflamed and bleed.
  • He is in his mid teens to late thirties.


Kidney disease is diagnosed by a healthcare professional using the following:

  1. A health records and a family medical history
  2. A physical examination
  3. Urine tests
  4. A blood test is performed.

1. Personal and family medical histories

A health care practitioner may be able to identify kidney disease by taking a medical and family history.

2. Physical Examination

A physical examination can aid in the diagnosis of renal disease. A health care professional generally does a physical examination, like:

  • The person’s blood pressure is measured.
  • Inspects the patient’s physique for signs of edema.

3. Urine Examinations

Test for albumin and blood with a dipstick – 

The existence of albumin and blood can be detected using a dipstick test on a urine sample. In a healthcare company’s office or a commercial facility, the patient delivers a urine sample in a specific vessel. 

A medic or technician can either analyze the sample on-site or deliver it to a laboratory for examination. The test is inserting a dipstick, a strip of chemically treated paper, into the patient’s urine sample. When albumin or blood is present in urine, the patches on the dipstick change color.

The albumin-to-creatinine ratio in urine – 

This evaluation, which analyzes the quantity of albumin to the amount of creatinine in a urine sample, is used by a health care practitioner to determine 24-hour albumin excretion. 

Whereas if urine albumin-to-creatinine ratio is more than 30 mg of albumin per gram of creatinine (30 mg/g), the patient may have chronic renal disease. UACR is another name for this measurement.

4. Testing of the Blood

A blood test includes drawing blood at a nephrologist’s office or a commercial center and submitting the sample to a laboratory for examination. 

A blood test may be conducted to determine how much blood a person’s kidneys filtrate per min, a measurement known as the approximated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR). The testing can reveal the following based on the results:

  • An eGFR of 60 or above is considered regular.
  • If your eGFR is less than 60, you may have renal disease.
  • Kidney failure may be indicated by an eGFR of 15 or below.

Diagnosis of IgA nephropathy

Presently, there are no accurate blood or urine tests for diagnosing IgA nephropathy; thus, a kidney biopsy is required for diagnosis of IgA nephropathy. A kidney biopsy is a process in which a tiny bit of kidney tissue is removed and examined under a microscope. 

A kidney biopsy is performed under mild sedation and a local anesthetic at a hospital or outpatient clinic by a healthcare professional. To direct the biopsy needle into the kidney, the health care practitioner utilizes imaging tools such as ultrasonography or a computed tomography scan.

The renal tissue is examined using a microscope by a pathologist, a specialist who specializes in studying tissues to identify illnesses. IgA deposits in the glomeruli can only be seen by a biopsy. 

The biopsy might also reveal how much harm has already been done to the kidneys. The results of the examination can assist the nephrologist in determining the best course of therapy.

How may IgA nephropathy be avoided?

IgA nephropathy cannot be prevented, according to researchers. People who have a family history of IgA nephropathy should talk to their nephrologist about what they can do to keep their kidneys balanced, such as managing their blood pressure and maintaining a healthy blood cholesterol level.

Eating, Nutrition, and Diet

Eating, food, and nutrition have not been shown to play a role in the development or prevention of IgA nephropathy. Individuals with kidney illness, such as IgA nephropathy, may be advised by their nephrologists to adopt dietary modifications such as:

  • To help decrease edema and lower blood pressure, limit dietary sodium, which is typically found in salt.
  • Lowering blood pressure and reducing edema by reducing liquid consumption
  • To help manage high levels of lipids (fats) in the blood, eat a low-fat, low-cholesterol diet.

Although the effectiveness of decreasing protein in a person’s diet is still being investigated, health care professionals may recommend that patients with renal disease eat moderate or decreased quantities of protein. 

Proteins degrade into waste material, which the kidneys must remove from the bloodstream. Consuming extra protein than the body requires can put a strain on the kidneys, causing renal function to deteriorate more quickly. 

However, a low protein consumption can lead to malnutrition, which is a problem in which the body does not receive sufficient nutrients. Blood tests that can indicate nutritional levels should be given to those with renal disease who are on a low-protein diet.

Management and Treatment of IgA Nephropathy

Natural remedies and a healthy lifestyle

To maintain your kidneys in good shape, do the following:

  • At home, keep an eye on your blood pressure – Make a record of each reading and bring it with you to your nephrologist’s appointments.
  • Lower your blood pressure by taking precautions – Maintaining a healthy blood pressure level can assist delay the development of IgA nephropathy. Reducing your salt consumption, reducing extra weight, staying physically active, drinking alcohol in limits, and consuming your blood pressure medicines exactly as recommended are all measures to keep your blood pressure under control.
  • Reduce your intake of protein – Slowing the course of IgA nephropathy and protecting your kidneys may be as simple as reducing your protein intake and taking efforts to lower your cholesterol levels.

IgA nephropathy has yet to be identified as having a particular cure. The kidneys can’t be healed after they’ve been damaged. As a result, the primary objective of IgA nephropathy therapy is to avoid or postpone kidney problems. 

Medications may be prescribed by a health care professional to:

  • Regulate the immune system of a person.
  • Extra fluid in a person’s blood should be removed.
  • Reduce an individual’s cholesterol levels in the blood.
  • Manage blood pressure and kidney illness development.

1. Take Charge of Your Immune System

Medication is occasionally used by healthcare professionals to regulate a person’s immune system. Regulating the immune system, which is the body’s natural reaction to inflammation, can help to reduce swelling. The following medicines may be prescribed by health care providers:

  • Corticosteroids, such as prednisone
  • Cyclophosphamide

2. Excess Fluid Should Be Removed

A diuretic, a drug that aids the kidneys in removing excess fluid from the blood, may be prescribed by a nephrologist. Blood pressure management can be improved by removing excess fluid. When a diuretic is used with an ACE inhibitor or an ARB, the efficacy of these medicines is frequently increased.

3. Slow the development of kidney illness by controlling blood pressure.

Individuals with IgA nephropathy who have hypertension may need to consume blood pressure medicines, which can also help to delay the course of kidney illness. 

Angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors and angiotensin receptor blockers (ARBs) are two types of blood pressure-lowering medicines that have been shown to delay the course of kidney illness. 

Many individuals need two or more medicines to keep their blood pressure under check. Beta-blockers, calcium channel blockers, and other blood pressure medicines may be required.

4. Omega-3 fatty acids 

These lipids, which may be found in dietary fish oil supplements, may help to decrease glomerular inflammation without causing any negative side effects. Before you begin using supplements, see your nephrologist.

5. Reduce Cholesterol Levels in the Blood

High blood cholesterol levels are a risk for individuals with IgA nephropathy. Cholesterol is a kind of lipid that may be present in the cells of the body, in the blood, and in a variety of meals. Individuals who use cholesterol-lowering medicines can reduce their blood cholesterol levels. One of many cholesterol-lowering medicines known as statins may be prescribed by a nephrologist.