There is no specific treatment for IgA nephropathy. The goal is to reduce symptoms caused by the kidney's inability to work properly, and to try to avoid the problems this can cause, such as chronic renal failure.
The health care team may suggest dietary changes to reduce the amount of salt and protein intake. A registered dietitian can help draw up a healthy eating plan that takes this into account. Fish oils may be added to the diet. Certain blood pressure medications, such as ACE inhibitors, can help reduce protein spillage from the kidney. Corticosteroids and medications to suppress the immune system may also be used.
Hypertension (high blood pressure) may have been a warning sign of IgA nephropathy. If this is the case, it will be treated, usually with antihypertensive medications (medications for high blood pressure). Hypertension is also a complication of most kidney disorders. If blood pressure isn't already high when a person is diagnosed with IgA nephropathy, doctors will watch closely for its development. Lifestyle changes (e.g., diet, exercise, stress management) to help avoid getting high blood pressure might be recommended.
If kidney damage gets worse, chronic kidney failure may set in. In these cases, kidney dialysis is necessary. Dialysis uses a membrane, instead of a kidney, to remove excess fluids and waste from the body.
Dialysis is not a cure, and people who are on dialysis must still follow special diets, restrict fluids, and take medications as prescribed by their doctors. The type of dialysis performed – peritoneal dialysis or hemodialysis – is chosen by the health care team according to the needs of the individual patient.
Peritoneal dialysis uses the natural membrane in the abdominal cavity, called the peritoneum, as its filter. Using a catheter (a very small, flexible tube) that's been permanently placed into the abdomen, the abdominal cavity is filled with a solution called dialysate, which stays there for a set amount of time. The dialysate then draws the waste and extra fluid out of the bloodstream through the membrane. When finished, the dialysate – now with the extra body fluid and waste mixed in – is drained out and then replaced with fresh dialysate.
This procedure is usually done at home, by the individual or by a family member. It is continuous and done in cycles. The cycles can take place as frequently as every 6 hours or, in some cases, only once a day (i.e., put in the dialysate at night and drain it in the morning). The procedure is done daily, but how often during the day varies according to the type of peritoneal dialysis.
Peritoneal dialysis doesn't work for everyone and may eventually stop working effectively for those who do use it. If this happens, hemodialysis is necessary.
Hemodialysis is a procedure that is usually done in a hospital or special clinic setting. In this process, the waste and excess body fluid are filtered out through the blood using a machine called a dialyser. The person's blood is pumped into the machine and stays on one side of the membrane, while the dialysate is on the other side of the membrane. As with the peritoneal dialysis, the dialysate draws the extra body fluid and waste through the filter and then the filtered blood is pumped back into the body. The process of hemodialysis is quicker than peritoneal dialysis, and the cycle is generally finished in about 4 hours. It's usually done about 3 times a week.
All those who require dialysis are assessed for a kidney transplant. As frightening as this may sound, kidney transplants are now quite common and have a good success rate. Someone who has had a successful transplant can go on to live a healthy life. Kidneys can be donated by a live donor (e.g., a relative) or by someone who has died and left his or her organs for donation.
It's entirely possible to live a full, healthy life with only one kidney – one fully functioning kidney can do the work of two – but it's essential to watch for signs of any problems with the remaining kidney.
Currently, there isn't any known way to prevent IgA nephropathy. That said, by being aware of the signs and symptoms of kidney disease, it's sometimes possible to delay its progression to kidney failure.
All material copyright MediResource Inc. 1996 – 2017. Terms and conditions of use. The contents herein are for informational purposes only. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Source: www.medbroadcast.com/condition/getcondition/IgA-Nephropathy