Berger’s disease (IgA nephropathy) is a kidney condition that develops when an antibody called IgA becomes stuck in the kidneys. This gradually produces localized inflammation that may accumulate over the course of two decades. Eventually, Berger’s disease can cause kidney failure. Berger’s disease patients may have no symptoms for many years, and the condition is often detected during routine blood tests for another health concern. When symptoms do appear, they generally include high blood pressure, dark (tea or cola) urine, visible blood in the urine, and swelling of the hands and feet. Patients may also have back pain along one or both sides of the back below the ribs. To diagnose this condition, patients will need urine and blood tests. A kidney biopsy and an iothalamate clearance test may be necessary in some cases.
The treatments described below are part of the standard protocol for managing patients with Berger’s disease.
Statin therapy is used to reduce cholesterol. For patients with Berger’s disease, a reduction in cholesterol can slow down the rate of kidney damage, enabling patients to have a better quality of life. Some of the most commonly prescribed statins for patients with this disease include atorvastatin, fluvastatin, lovastatin, pitavastatin, and simvastatin. While taking statins, patients should be aware of potential side effects such as muscle or leg pain, vomiting, stomach cramps, and brown-tinted urine. Patients should report any troublesome or concerning side effects to their healthcare team. Since there is a large variety of statins on the market, doctors may be able to switch patients to another drug with fewer side effects. While taking statins, patients will have regular follow-up appointments and blood tests to monitor their cholesterol and kidney function.
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