What is IgA Nephropathy?
Learning all you can about the disease can keep you moving in the right direction.
Let’s start with the kidneys
Understanding IgA nephropathy begins with understanding your kidneys.
Most people have 2 kidneys1
Most kidneys are the size of a computer mouse2
Kidneys are situated below your ribs toward the middle of your back1
Kidneys are your body’s filtering system, and each one contains about a million tiny filtering units, called glomeruli. Kidneys remove waste products from your blood and extra fluid from your body through your urine, and let proteins and other nutrients return to your bloodstream. In just one day, your kidneys filter about 150 quarts of blood!3
If your glomeruli (kidney’s filtering units) don’t work properly, you may experience:
Increased level of protein spills into urine1
Blood spills into urine4
Lowering proteinuria may lower the risk of your disease progressing (getting worse).5
IgA nephropathy is a rare kidney disease.6 It occurs when immunoglobulin A (IgA)—an antibody in your blood that helps your body fight infections—builds up in your kidneys and disrupts their ability to filter waste from your blood.1,6
With IgA nephropathy, people can have higher levels of proteinuria, which puts them at risk for developing kidney failure.5
Increased level of protein spills into urine
If you do have symptoms, here are the most common to look for:
Hematuria (blood in your urine) that can make it appear dark brown or cola colored1
Foamy urine caused by proteinuria (large amounts of protein spilling into your urine)1
Edema (swelling) in your legs, feet, or ankles1
High blood pressure1
Pain in one or both sides of your back below your ribs1
Do any of theseDISCOVER DIAGNOSIS
The path forward
Progression can be hard to predict because IgA nephropathy varies from person to person.1 But, if you continue to see your doctor, follow your treatment plan, and keep track of numbers like your proteinuria, blood pressure, and eGFR, you and your doctor will have a better idea of how to manage your disease.
How is IgAN
1. Mayo Clinic. IgA nephropathy (Berger's disease). Accessed January 2023. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/iga-nephropathy/symptoms-causes/syc-20352268. 2. University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. Chronic kidney disease. Accessed January 2023. https://www.wmhs.com/upmc-western-maryland-march-2020-population-health-initiative-chronic-kidney-disease/. 3. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK). Your kidneys & how they work. Accessed January 2023. https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/kidney-disease/kidneys-how-they-work. 4. Mayo Clinic. Blood in urine (hematuria). Accessed January 2023. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/blood-in-urine/symptoms-causes/syc-20353432. 5. Kidney Disease: Improving Global Outcomes (KDIGO) Glomerular Diseases Work Group. KDIGO 2021 Clinical practice guideline for the management of glomerular diseases. Kidney Int. 2021;100(4S):S1-S276. 6. Kwon CS, Daniele P, Forsythe A, et al. A systematic literature review of the epidemiology, health-related quality of life impact, and economic burden of immunoglobulin A nephropathy. JHEOR. 2021;8(2)36-45. doi:10.36469/jheor.2021.26129. 7. Lai KN, Tang SCW, Schena FP, et al. IgA nephropathy. Nat Rev Dis Primers. 2016;2:16001. 8. National Organization for Rare Disorders (NORD). IgA nephropathy. Accessed January 2023. https://rarediseases.org/rare-diseases/iga-nephropathy/. 9. Barratt J, Feehally J. IgA nephropathy. J Am Soc Nephrol. 2005;16(7):2088-2097. 10. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK). IgA nephropathy. Accessed January 2023. https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/kidney-disease/iga-nephropathy. 11. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK). Slow progression and reduce complications. Accessed January 2023. https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/professionals/clinical-tools-patient-management/kidney-disease/identify-manage-patients/manage-ckd/slow-progression-reduce-complications.