Managing IgA Nephropathy
Most treatment options for IgA nephropathy (IgAN) center around controlling symptoms by reducing blood pressure and blocking the renin-angiotensin system (RAS) or by reducing proteinuria. Kidney Disease: Improving Global Outcomes (KDIGO), a global nonprofit organization, has developed clinical guidelines for doctors to consider when treating the kidney or kidney-related diseases. Your doctor may reference these guidelines when determining the right treatment path for you or a loved one living with IgAN.
Current treatment options
Every person with IgAN has a different journey, and it’s important that you talk to your doctor about which treatment plan is right for you. There are different ways that doctors try to help manage the symptoms related to IgAN. Below are some examples of what your doctor may use.
RAS inhibition (RASi)
Suppressing the body’s RAS, a process called RASi, can help control high blood pressure and reduce protein in the urine. The two most common types of medications that do this are called angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors (ACEi) and angiotensin II receptor blockers (ARB).
Steroids are mainly used to reduce inflammation and suppress the immune system. They are prescribed for a broad range of conditions, and some work more locally within the body than others.
Your doctor may recommend lifestyle changes to manage your IgAN. These changes may include quitting smoking, following a low-sodium diet, losing weight, or exercising.
Your doctor may recommend other treatments, including fish oil, dialysis, kidney transplant, medications that suppress the immune system, or even removing the tonsils.
There is a treatment option available that may be right for you
Talking to your doctor
Communicating with your doctor or the doctor of someone you love can be key to becoming an active participant in the treatment journey. Here are some questions you may want to ask your doctor to start an informative discussion about the best options for your care:
Through an active discussion, you and your doctor will be able to decide which treatment is right for you based on your personal experiences.
Learn more tips for communicating with your doctor
Take an active role in your treatment plan
Taking an active role in your treatment plan can go beyond communicating with your doctor. By being prepared, you and your doctor can make the best decisions as you navigate IgAN treatment. This includes being specific about your symptoms, weighing the pros and cons of each treatment option, and knowing what medications to take and why you are taking them. Below is a link to different tools that can help you stay on top of your IgAN treatment plan.