(Immunoglobulin A Nephropathy; Berger’s Disease)
by Suzanne Cote, MS
IgA nephropathy is a kidney disease. It may start with minor changes in the kidneys, but it can lead to more serious problems such as kidney failure.
A buildup of a protein called IgA causes IgA nephropathy. These proteins help the body fight infections. Their numbers go up when you get sick.
The protein buildup can hurt the tiny tubules of the kidneys. The tubules filter the blood and make urine. Protein buildup makes it harder for the kidneys to work the right way. This causes blood and proteins to leak into the urine.
Your genes may play a role in the buildup of IgA proteins.
Your risk is higher if you have:
Symptoms are not present in the early stages of the disease.
Blood in the urine is often the first sign. It usually happens after an infection such as a cold. Only a test can find small amounts of blood. Larger amounts of blood will turn urine the color of pink or cola.
Other later stage symptoms:
The doctor will ask about your symptoms and health history. Your answers and a physical exam may point to IgA nephropathy. You may also have:
The goal of care is to slow the progress of IgA nephropathy and limit kidney damage. You will need to treat other health problems that cause stress on your kidneys such as high blood pressure.
Care may involve:
Medicines help control:
Certain types of food can cause stress on your kidneys. You may need to monitor your intake of:
Your doctor may advise taking dietary supplements such as fish oil. Don’t start taking them on your own. They can interfere with other medicines you take.
Daily exercise will help you feel better. It can also help with controlling blood pressure and cholesterol.
If you smoke, talk to your doctor about how you can learn to quit.
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.
GARD—Genetic and Rare Diseases Information Center
National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases
The Kidney Foundation of Canada
IgA nephropathy. EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at: http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T114248/IgA-nephropathy . Updated January 11, 2018. Accessed June 5, 2018.
IgA nephropathy. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases website. Available at: https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/kidney-disease/iga-nephropathy. Updated November 2015. Accessed June 5, 2018.
IgA nephropathy. National Kidney Foundation website. Available at: https://www.kidney.org/atoz/content/iganeph. Accessed June 5, 2018.
Immunoglobulin A nephropathy. Merck Manual Professional Version website. Available at: https://www.merckmanuals.com/professional/genitourinary-disorders/glomerular-disorders/immunoglobulin-a-nephropathy. Updated January 2018. Accessed June 5, 2018.
Last reviewed May 2018 by EBSCO Medical Review Board Adrienne Carmack, MD
Last Updated: 6/5/2018
EBSCO Information Services is fully accredited by URAC. URAC is an independent, nonprofit health care accrediting organization dedicated to promoting health care quality through accreditation, certification and commendation.
This content is reviewed regularly and is updated when new and relevant evidence is made available. This information is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with questions regarding a medical condition.
To send comments or feedback to our Editorial Team regarding the content please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Our Health Library Support team will respond to your email request within 2 business days.