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 IgA Nephropathy

What is IgA Nephropathy?

What causes IgA Nephropathy?

What tests are needed to diagnose IgA Nephropathy?

What are the symptoms of IgA Nephropathy?

How is IgA Nephropathy treated in medicine?

What to eat and not to eat with IgA Nephropathy?

Factors that affect IgA Nephropathy

What is IgA Nephropathy?

IgA Nephropathy is also called Berger’s Disease in medicine. It is a common glomerular disease marked by massive deposition, mainly IgA immune complexes, in mesangial area. In cases of IgA Nephropathy, kidney damages are caused by immune response which appears due to the IgA deposition. According to clinical date, 25% to 30% of cases develop to ESRD (End Stage Renal Disease) within 20 years.

What causes IgA Nephropathy?

IgA Nephropathy can be primary or secondary. For secondary IgA Nephropathy, many illnesses can cause it like HSP Nephritis, HIV infection, lepriasis and liver illness and so on. Therefore, for patients with these illnesses, they should especially care about their kidney, so as to have a prompt diagnosis and treatment when their kidney is affected. For primary IgA Nephropathy, occurrence of it is associated with abnormal immune system. IgA is the abbreviation of immunoglobulin A which is an antibody that can help us fight against antigen, the harmful substances. Due to immune disorder, large amounts of IgA are produced in the body and this may lead to the appearance of polymer IgA. Immune response appears when polymer IgA deposit in kidney. Lastly, IgA Nephropathy is not hereditary, but clinical studies find it has slight tendency to be familial.

What tests are needed to diagnose IgA Nephropathy?

Renal biopsy or kidney biopsy is needed for the diagnosis of IgA Nephropathy, but before that, patients are usually suggested to have blood tests and urine test. Besides, in some cases, IgA Nephropathy patients might be recommended to have B ultrasound which can help us to know if there are shrinkage in kidney size and tumors, cysts and stones in kidney.

What are the symptoms of IgA Nephropathy?

IgA Nephropathy patients may experience different symptoms in early stage and advanced stage. The followings are the several symptoms that IgA Nephropathy patients may experience with the progression of illness:

Repeated gross hematuria: Repeated gross hematuria is the leading worry for people with IgA Nephropathy, especially for children patients. This symptom may appear lonely or be accompanied with uncomfortable urination.

Proteinuria: Proteinuria is very common among patients whose IgA Nephropathy presents as Nephrotic Syndrome. Severe proteinuria is always accompanied with swelling, hypoproteinemia and hyperlipemia.

High blood pressure: Clinical studies report persistent high blood pressure always appears together with proteinuria.

Decreased urine output: With no effective treatment, urine becomes less and less and finally anuria will be caused.

Apart from symptoms we mentioned above, IgA Nephropathy patients may also experience poor appetite, fatigue, nausea, vomit, itchy skin and sleep problems when illness develops to late stage.

How is IgA Nephropathy treated in medicine?

In some countries or area, there is no special treatment for IgA Nephropathy, but treating its symptoms like high blood pressure, proteinuria, hematuria and so on. Many medicines like ACEI (Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme Inhibitors), ARBs (Angiotensin II Receptor Blockers), prednisone, cyclophosphamide and tripterygium glycosides can be used to control these symptoms, and we can receive good and quick treatment effects with these medicines. However, we can not get IgA Nephropathy stopped radically by treating its symptoms, so this explain why IgA Nephropathy patients still step up to end stage kidney failure even if they start to treat their illness very early.

We know IgA Nephropathy is an autoimmune kidney problem; so to prevent IgA Nephropathy from progressing to end stage renal disease, we must normalize immune system, so as to prevent the further formation of IgA deposition. And also, after that, we need to take some measures to remove IgA immune complexes that circulate with blood and deposit in kidney. Only in this way, immune response can be blocked and further kidney damages can be avoided successfully. For the medicine that can normalize immune system and remove IgA immune complexes, Chinese medicine is highly recommended. Chinese medicine treats IgA Nephropathy by improving blood circulation, dilating blood vessels, regulating immune system, blocking inflammation and preventing coagulation. With these benefits, not only IgA immune complexes can be cleared away, immune disorder also can be normalized. Therefore, with Chinese medicine, IgA Nephropathy can be treated better. This is the reason why more and more patients begin to look into Chinese medicine.

What foods to eat and not to eat with IgA Nephropathy?

Knowing what foods to eat and what foods to avoid is very important for IgA Nephropathy patients, as a reasonable diet plays an important part in the treatment for IgA Nephropathy.

1. Foods with high quality protein like lean meat, fish, milk, egg white are recommended, but they need to limit the intake of it. .

2. Foods high in fiber like broccoli, pear, oatmeal and artichokes are usually necessary for IgA Nephropathy patients.

3. Foods high in calories like fish oil and dark chocolate and so on.

4. Foods low in potassium like pear nectar, cranberry sauce, celery, turnip and eggplant are suggested if potassium level in blood is higher than the reference level.

5. Low-phosphorus foods like Tofu, pumpkin, wax gourd, rice and lotus root are helpful for patients for IgA Nephropathy patients with high level of phosphorus in blood.

6. Low-salt diet is also beneficial for IgA Nephropathy patients and this needs them to add less salt while cooking. Also, to limit salt intake strictly, they also need to stay far away from processed foods and varies of sauces.

7. Drink less soup if there is swelling.

What is the prognosis of IgA Nephropathy

IgA Nephropathy prognosis differs from case to case, because it can be affected by many factors such as patients’ age, treatment method, severity of illness condition, diet plan and if symptoms are brought under control tightly.

Age: For elders with IgA Nephropathy, the later the IgA Nephropathy appears, the worse the prognosis is.

Treatment method: In some cases, IgA Nephropathy patients are just prescribed with some medicines to control their symptoms. Tight control of high blood pressure, proteinuria and hematuria helps to slow down illness progression, but it can not stop IgA Nephropathy from progressing. Therefore, compared with patients who just take some measures to treat their symptoms, IgA Nephropathy patients who stop illness from progression always have a better prognosis.

Severity of illness condition: People with mild IgA Nephropathy usually have a better prognosis than these whose illness has developed to advanced stage.

Diet plan: Daily diet plays a part in the treatment for IgA Nephropathy, so to have a good prognosis, patients need to make some diet changes according to their specific illness, so as to avoid worsening of illness condition.

Tight control of all the symptoms: Although many symptoms like elevated blood pressure, proteinuria and hematuria appears due to damaged kidney tissues and impaired kidney function, if not controlled well, they will accelerate illness. Therefore, people who can bring their symptoms under control always have a better prognosis than these who leave their symptoms alone.

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