IgA Nephropathy, also known as Berger’s disease, is one of the most common glomerular diseases worldwide and is the reason for about 10% of the kidney biopsies within the US. It is responsible for almost one third of all kidney biopsies in all Asian countries, where it is also a leading cause of dialysis. Most cases of IgA nephropathy can be diagnosed at any age; however, it is most commonly diagnosed during youth or early adulthood.
What Causes IgA Nephropathy?
IgA nephropathy is developed when there is an abnormal sugar molecule on the immunoglobulin A (IgA) protein, a protein involved in the immune system. The body then mounts an immune response against the abnormal IgA, forming a large complex of proteins that gets “stuck” in the mesangium of the glomerulus.
Symptoms of the Disease
This response leads to inflammation and causes excess protein to be secreted in the urine. A normal amount of protein secreted is 150 mg/day. Most of the protein secreted consists of albumin, a large molecule synthesized in the liver.
Several patients with IgA will have an elevated amount of protein in their urine, even up to thousands of milligrams per day! They may also have microscopic or macroscopic (visible to the naked eye) blood in the urine. It is common to find completely normal levels of GFR and Creatinine with elevated protein and blood in urine samples within IgA patients.
Some other clinical manifestations of IgA nephropathy may include hypertension and leg edema.
If you have been diagnosed with IgA Nephropathy in the past or think some of the symptoms may pertain to you, it is important to consult a nephrologist. Call us at (714) 435-0150 to schedule a consult!