Richard Lafayette, MD, FACP, Director of the Stanford Glomerular Disease Center, Editor-in-Chief of ASN Kidney News, and Rheumatologist at Stanford Health Care, describes the patient population for immunoglobulin A (IgA) nephropathy. 

IgA nephropathy, also known as Berger’s disease, is a rare kidney disease characterized by build up of IgA deposits in the kidneys.  The buildup of IgA deposits inflames and damages the glomeruli, causing hematuria and proteinuria. This damage may lead to scarring of the nephrons which progresses slowly over many years. Eventually, IgA nephropathy can lead to end-stage kidney disease. Currently, there is no approved treatment for IgA nephropathy, though the FDA is scheduled to make a decision about the approval of Nefecon, a potential treatment for IgA nephropathy, by September 15, 2021. 

As Dr. Lafayette explains, symptoms of IgA nephropathy most often present in older children and young adults. Typically, younger patients present with noticeable hematuria which can lead to an earlier diagnosis, before symptoms of kidney disease (i.e., elevated blood pressure, fluid retention, shortness of breath) are evident. As IgA nephropathy causes progressive kidney damage, early diagnosis is important. 

Dr. Lafayette also notes that the disease most often affects males and males usually have more severe symptoms. Additionally, it tends to be more prevalent in Asian and Cacausian communities than African ones. 

To learn more about IgA nephropathy and other rare kidney diseases, visit checkrare.com/diseases/kidney