What is IgA Nephropathy?
Learning all you can about the disease can keep you moving in the right direction.
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
Proteinuria is nephrotoxic.5-7
Damaging or destructive to the kidneys
Lowering proteinuria may lower the risk of your disease progressing (getting worse).8
How does IgAN affect the kidneys?
For those with IgA nephropathy, a specific antibody—immunoglobulin A (IgA)—is made incorrectly by the body and circulates in the blood.9
Another word for antibody is immunoglobulin
Other antibodies are attracted to this misshapen IgA and stick to it, together attracting immune molecules to the kidneys.9
Once these groups of antibodies build up in the kidneys, several harmful events take place. Two molecules in particular, endothelin-1 (ET-1) and angiotensin II (Ang II), can worsen damage to the kidneys’ filters, gradually decreasing kidney function and possibly leading to kidney failure.10-13
Everyone has ET-1 and Ang II in their bodies. But in people with IgA nephropathy, these molecules are more active and promote several destructive processes in the kidneys, such as:
- Tissue scarring
- Multiplication of—or damage to—important cells
- Changes in blood pressure and blood flow
The damage done to the kidneys’ filters results in increased proteinuria levels.14,15 Proteinuria then further increases levels of ET-1 and Ang II in the body, creating a harmful cycle.16-18
Increased level of protein spills into urine
Proteinuria can be both a sign of current kidney damage and a cause of future damage.5-7, 14,15
Explore a treatment option that blocks both ET-1 and Ang II.
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
If you see blood in your urine, reach out to your doctor immediately as this could be a sign of kidney inflammation.8
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 August 2023. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseasesconditions/iga-nephropathy/symptoms-causes/syc-20352268. 2. University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. Chronic kidney disease. Accessed August 2023. https://www.wmhs.com/upmc-westernmaryland-