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Berger's Disease

Berger's Disease Causes

Berger's disease may result from a combination of genetic and environmental factors. For example, it is more common in Asian males. However, the exact gene or genes responsible for it have not been discovered. Since immunoglobulin A plays a role in fighting upper respiratory tract infections, it is possible to suppose that something in the environment triggers IgA production in individuals at risk. Berger's disease usually occurs in people between the ages of 15 and 35, but since it takes up to 25 years to lead to damage in some people, it may not be diagnosed until middle age. It is more common in Native Americans and Caucasians but rare in African-Americans. Berger's disease is one of the leading causes of chronic kidney disease involving the glomeruli (glomerulonephritis) in young people in the US, Europe, and Japan. As many as one third or more of patients with this disease will suffer severe progressive kidney damage.

Berger's Disease Definition

Berger's Disease (also known as primary IgA nephropathy, glomerulonephritis with IgA and IgG deposits and IgA mesangial nephropathy), has a wide pattern of distribution and is thought to be the most common form of primary glomerular disease throughout the world. Although highly prevalent, geographic variations occur, which could be due to genetic as well as enviromental influences on the patient. This is a kind of glomerulonephritis resulting from the deposition of circulating IgA antibody in the kidney tissues. Inflammation of the glomerulus (glomerulonephritis) is the result of this and may present as acute glomerulonephritis, chronic glomerulonephritis or rapidly progressive glomerulonephritis. This renal disorder more commonly affects males in the 16-40 age range.

Berger's Disease Diagnosis

Diagnosis of Berger's disease starts with a medical history and physical exam. Some patients seek care when they notice blood in their urine right after a sore throat begins. A urinalysis may be done to show blood and protein in the urine. A blood test may also be done to measure the level of IgA antibodies, which is higher than usual in about half of people with this condition. A biopsy of the kidney is usually needed to confirm the diagnosis and determine its severity.

Berger's Disease Symptoms and Signs

A person with Berger's disease may have no symptoms at all or may display symptoms such as blood in the urine (hematuria), often after a respiratory infection (like tonsillitis) in patients who are less than 40 years old and have Berger's. This blood may be visible to the naked eye or may be seen only through a microscope. Patients may also have kidney damage or failure (discovered only when kidney function tests are measured), high blood pressure (hypertension), protein in the urine, and swelling or edema if there is a lot of protein lost in the urine. Also some patients with blood in the urine may experience flank pain as with a kidney stone.

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