IgA nephropathy, also known as Berger's disease, is a kidney disease that occurs when the antibody IgA builds up in the kidneys, causing inflammation and damage to the kidney tissues. It is the most common cause of chronic kidney disease. The exact cause of IgA nephropathy is not fully understood, but it is believed to be related to the immune system and genetic factors.
The most common symptom of IgA nephropathy is blood in the urine, which may not be visible to the naked eye and is often detected through a routine urine test. Other symptoms can include foamy urine, leg or foot swelling, and high blood pressure. In some cases, the disease may not cause symptoms in the early stages.
IgA nephropathy can develop over many years, and the degree of kidney damage can vary widely among individuals. Some people may have mild disease that does not progress, while others may develop kidney failure.
Diagnosis of IgA nephropathy involves blood and urine tests and a kidney biopsy to confirm the presence of the disease and assess the degree of kidney damage. Treatment options depend on the severity of the disease. They may include medications to control blood pressure and inflammation and lifestyle changes such as a low-salt diet and regular exercise.
While the exact role of genetics in developing IgA nephropathy is not fully understood, studies have suggested that certain genetic variations may increase the risk of developing the disease. If you have a genetic predisposition or a family history of IgA nephropathy or kidney disease, it's important to talk to your healthcare provider about monitoring your kidney function and taking steps to prevent kidney damage.
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