is Berger's Disease?
Berger's Disease is a kidney ailment. It's clinical name is IgA Nephropathy (IgA referring to the antibodies; Nephropathy for kidneys). I was diagnosed with it in 1991 following an acute kidney failure. It's not debilitating, but my condition is monitored through frequent blood tests and urinalysis.
Because it is considered a relatively "new" condition, there was very little information available in 1991. It remains a lesser-known and seldom-diagnosed disease. Hopefully putting this information in my website will help others. The following is intended for research only. The websites where it originated are noted, along with links.
|From the National Kidney Foundation||
One of the kidney's most important jobs is to filter toxic waste products from the blood, and the glomeruli play a key role in this process. As more glomeruli are damaged by the IgA protein, the kidney progressively loses its ability to clear wastes from the body. In some patients with IgA nephropathy, this loss of kidney function progresses to chronic kidney failure, which requires dialysis treatment or a kidney transplant to maintain life.
IgA Nephropathy is sometimes called "Berger's Disease," because a French physician named Berger was one of the first to describe the disease.
What are the signs and symptoms of IgA
As loss of kidney function progresses, symptoms may include pain in the back below the ribs, increased need to urinate (especially at night), fatigue, nausea, swelling of hands and feet, and high blood pressure.
What causes IgA nephropathy?
How is IgA nephropathy diagnosed?
How is IgA nephropathy treated?
What is the outlook for patients with
What research is being done?
From the IgAN Foundation
IgA Nephropathy or Berger's ("burrjays") disease is the most common non-diabetic kidney disease. It results when IgA a normal component of the blood collects in the kidney as damaging deposits. These deposits are an immune system defect, hence IgAN is considered an autoimmune disease. Just why these deposits form is not known though a variety of factors such as family genetics and coincident infections seem to play important roles.
Available evidence suggests that IgA nephropathy occurs from either increased production or reduced clearance of the immune protein IgA and associated antigen complexes that are ultimately deposited within the kidney.
Many sources categorize IgAN as a rare disease with some sources claiming it afflicts 1:100,000. It seems that this estimated level of incidence for IgAN is not accurate as a large proportion of patients who present with IgAN symptoms have mild disease which is not diagnosed via the accepted biopsy diagnosis. One published study showed 94 out of 100,000 military inductees were diagnosed with IgAN. Other published research of random autopsy kidney biopsies suggests IgAN may be vastly more common and may affect up to 2-4% of the human population at large. Certainly there is a dramatic variance in the prevalence of diagnosed IgAN. In Japan and France where testing for the condition is part of regular preventative medical care the disease incidence is twice that found in the USA where testing for IgAN is rarely performed as preventative medicine.
Most people probably never realize they have the disease or at least do not realize it until a late stage. Amongst those diagnosed as having IgAN as many as 20%- 30% will suffer eventual kidney failure within 10-20 years. They will require life saving dialysis and/or a kidney transplant.
A Few Warning Signs of Kidney Disease
There are no "widely accepted" western medical treatments for IgAN save in the latest stages of the disease. There is however growing evidence that a number of therapies can be effective in delaying the deterioration of kidney function for many years. Most nephrologists with an active awareness of IgAN prescribe ACE inhibitors and fish oil at a minimum. In some cases powerful steroid treatment is utilized. For about half of those with IgAN tonsillectomy, which treats part of the underlying immune disorder, is effective. There are additional new treatments that show the promise of being a start on finding a cure for the disease.