What are the symptoms of IgA nephropathy?
The symptoms caused by IgA nephropathy are very variable from person to person. Many people with IgA nephropathy do not have any symptoms. IgA nephropathy is usually painless but sometimes an acute attack can cause pain over the kidneys and a feeling of sickness (nausea) for a couple of days.
However, the damage to the filters (glomeruli) of the kidneys may cause some blood to appear in the urine. Usually there is only a very small amount of blood in the urine. Therefore any traces of blood in the urine are often invisible and only detected on routine medical check-ups. In other cases there may be a lot more blood which you can see and comes in attacks every so often.
There may also be protein leakage from the kidneys. This may be slight and only detectable on urine tests. Occasionally, high levels of protein leakage cause swollen ankles, with very low levels of protein and high levels of cholesterol in your blood. This is called nephrotic syndrome.
Sometimes a flu-like illness causes an increase in IgA getting to the kidney. This can cause an increased amount of blood in the urine, which then clears after a few days.
What are the complications of IgA nephropathy?
IgA may cause the blood pressure to increase (hypertension). This damages the kidneys and may also put a strain on the heart. It is therefore very important to treat high blood pressure if it develops. Chronic kidney disease may sometimes occur. Very occasionally and much less often, IgA nephropathy may cause acute kidney injury before any other symptoms have developed.
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