IgA nephropathy (Berger’s disease) is a chronically progressive kidney disease, its progression is usually slow and if well control it does not get worse at all. However there are about 25% adult patients will progress into end stage renal failure within 25 years especially if patients have high blood pressure, persistent proteinuria which are not only typical symptoms of IgA nephropathy but also risk factors to further worsen renal damages.
When kidney failure develops, IgA nephropathy patients will have the following symptoms.
·General ill feelings. Due to continuous buildup of metabolic wastes and toxins, patients can feel nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, poor sleep at night, fatigue, skin itching.
·Swelling. Patients can have swelling in the in the eyelid, face, feet, abdomen due to fluid retention. Along with swelling, patients will have reduced urine output, shortness of breath, etc.
·Anemia. Damaged kidneys can not generate enough erythropoietin and there will be low red blood cell count. Anemia often make patients feel cold and fatigue.
·Other symptoms and discomforts may include bloody urine, bubbles in urine, diarrhea, thirsty, lethargy, etc.
Early diagnosis, timely prevention and treatment can help alleviate symptoms, control complications, slow down illness progression and delay or prevent kidney failure.
As has been mentioned above, proteinuria and high blood pressure can speed up illness progression, therefore well control of high blood pressure and reducing protein leakage in urine can help protect residual kidney functions and delay renal failure. Actually it has been found that controlling blood pressure is the most effective way to prevent further renal damages.
Low-salt, low-fat diets, proper and regular exercises, along with ACEI and ARB drugs can help lower high blood pressure and relieve swelling.
IgA patients often develop high cholesterol level which will in turn worsen high blood pressure. If it can not be controlled through diets and exercises, some medicines are needed to bring it down and this can help slow kidney damages.
Vitamin E supplement and fish oil that contains omega-3 fatty acids are good for IgA nephropathy patients.
The earlier IgA nephropathy is detected and treated, the better the prognosis is and the slower its progression into renal failure will be.
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