IgA Nephropathy (Berger’s Disease)
IgA Nephropathy (IgAN), also known as Berger’s Disease, is a type of kidney disease that occurs when the protein immunoglobulin A (IgA) builds up in the kidneys. IgAN is a chronic condition that can cause damage to the kidneys over time and can eventually lead to kidney failure.
The exact cause of IgAN is unknown, but it is believed to be related to problems with the immune system. IgA is a protein that helps the body fight off infections, but in IgAN, the body produces too much IgA, and it builds up in the kidneys. It is not known why this occurs in some people and not in others. Some risk factors that may increase the likelihood of developing IgAN include having a family history of the disease, having a history of chronic infections, and having a history of autoimmune diseases.
In the early stages, IgAN may not cause any symptoms. As the disease progresses, however, symptoms may begin to appear. Some common symptoms of IgAN include blood in the urine, swelling in the hands and feet, high blood pressure, and protein in the urine. Some people with IgAN may also experience fatigue, nausea, and loss of appetite.
Diagnosing IgAN requires a series of tests, including blood tests, urine tests, and a kidney biopsy. Blood tests may be used to check for levels of creatinine and other substances that can indicate kidney function. Urine tests may be used to check for protein and blood in the urine. A kidney biopsy involves removing a small sample of kidney tissue and examining it under a microscope to check for signs of IgAN.
There is no cure for IgAN, but there are treatments available that can help manage symptoms and slow the progression of the disease. Treatment options may include medications to lower blood pressure and reduce inflammation, as well as medications to suppress the immune system. In some cases, kidney transplantation may be necessary. It is important for people with IgAN to work closely with their healthcare providers to develop a treatment plan that is right for them.
Research is ongoing to understand the causes and treatment options for IgA nephropathy (IgAN). Ongoing research includes genetic studies, immune system studies, and clinical trials testing new treatments. In particular, there is active research investigating the role of gut bacteria and its metabolites in IgAN development, as well as the potential of certain dietary interventions to mitigate disease progression. Additionally, there is ongoing research exploring the use of immunosuppressive agents and biologic therapies in treating IgAN. Clinical trials are critical in evaluating the safety and efficacy of novel treatments and interventions for IgAN, helping to improve the management and care of individuals with this condition.
IgA Nephropathy, or Berger’s Disease, is a chronic kidney disease that can cause damage to the kidneys over time. While there is no cure for IgAN, there are treatments available that can help manage symptoms and slow the progression of the disease. If you are experiencing symptoms of IgAN, it is important to speak with your healthcare provider to get an accurate diagnosis and develop a treatment plan.
Participate in a Clinical Trial
If you or someone you know is interested in participating in a clinical trial related to IgA nephropathy (IgAN), there may be options available in your area. Clinical trials are research studies that evaluate new treatments, therapies, or interventions for a particular condition. By participating in a clinical trial, individuals can help advance our understanding of IgAN and potentially benefit from new treatment options.
Enrolling in a clinical trial involves meeting certain eligibility criteria and following a study protocol that outlines the procedures, treatments, and assessments involved. Participants may receive compensation for their time and travel expenses. If you are interested in learning more about clinical trials for IgAN or other conditions, click here to search for active trials in your area. Also review the Frequently Asked Question section by clicking here. The FAQ answers many questions relating to how to enroll, what should be expected and many other areas of interest.