What is nephropathy and what are the types of nephropathy?

What is nephropathy and what are the types of nephropathy?

donutmedialab.com — Nephropathy is a medical term used to define kidney damage or disease that can lead to kidney failure. The main function of the kidneys is to remove waste and excess fluid so that the water and electrolytes in the body are balanced.

If there is a problem with the kidneys, of course this bean-shaped organ will not work properly and can cause serious health conditions.

Nephropathy is considered a disease that worsens the health condition of the sufferer if not treated immediately. Therefore, the sooner you notice kidney damage, the sooner you will get treatment.

What are the types of nephropathy?

Nephropathy is a term used to describe kidney disease. However, there are several types of diseases that belong to the nephropathy group, which are as follows.

Diabetic nephropathy

Diabetic nephropathy is a type of kidney disease that is included as a complication of diabetes. It is estimated that 20-40% of people with diabetes mellitus will experience diabetic nephropathy if blood sugar is not controlled properly.

When sugar levels spike drastically, the kidneys will work harder to filter the blood. Slowly, the ability of the kidneys will decrease and cause the nephrons to thicken, until they finally leak. As a result, proteins, such as albumin, are also wasted in the urine, causing diabetic nephropathy.

In addition to uncontrolled blood sugar levels, there are various other factors that can increase the risk of people with diabetes experiencing this condition, including:

  • high blood pressure,
  • obesity or overweight,
  • have a history of type 1 diabetes before the age of 20 years, and
  • active smoking.

Berger’s disease (IgA nephropathy)

Berger’s disease (IgA nephropathy) is a type of kidney disease that occurs due to the accumulation of IgA in the kidneys. This IgA buildup causes inflammation that damages kidney tissue.

IgA is an antibody that contains protein and is made by the immune system to protect the body from foreign substances, such as bacteria and viruses. Antibodies that accumulate in the glomerulus eventually cause inflammation (glomerulonephritis). As a result, the ability of the kidneys also decreases.

Until now it is not known what causes the accumulation of IgA in the kidneys. However, there are various factors thought to be associated with the development of IgA nephropathy, including:

  • genetics, IgA nephropathy is more common in certain families and races,
  • a history of liver disease, such as cirrhosis, hepatitis B, and hepatitis C,
  • Celiac disease, indigestion due to gluten consumption, and
  • dermatitis herpetiformis, itchy spots due to gluten intolerance.
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This condition is a fairly common disease and can occur at any age. However, the initial symptoms of IgA will usually only be seen in their teens to their late 30s. In addition, Berger’s disease is also more prone to occur in Asians and Caucasians.

What are the signs and symptoms?

Generally, the early stages of kidney damage do not show any signs. Symptoms of kidney disease will usually only appear and feel when the kidneys are really no longer functioning optimally.

Most cases also indicate that you may not experience severe symptoms until the damage reaches the final stage. Here are some symptoms of nephropathy that you need to be aware of, ranging from mild to really interfere with daily activities.

  • The color of the urine turns brown, red, or blood red.
  • There is blood in the urine (hematuria).
  • Pain in the back side, precisely under the ribs.
  • High blood pressure.
  • Sudden increase in cholesterol and triglycerides.

There may be some symptoms not mentioned above. If you have concerns about the symptoms of certain diseases, immediately consult a doctor.

When should I see a doctor?

Nephropathy is a kidney disease that is considered progressive and sometimes causes disturbing symptoms when the kidney damage gets worse.

If you experience some of the symptoms below, consult a doctor because it is feared that kidney damage has reached the final stage.

  • Swelling (edema) in the legs and calves due to fluid retention.
  • Decreased appetite.
  • Weight loss.
  • Feeling sluggish and tired all day.
  • Nausea and vomiting.
  • Having trouble sleeping.
  • What are the causes?

Nephropathy is a kidney disease caused by damage to the kidneys due to various factors. The following are a number of causes of nephropathy by type.

Diabetic nephropathy

People with diabetes usually have kidneys that slowly thicken and are increasingly damaged due to high blood sugar levels. As a result, nephron leakage also occurs which also causes protein to enter the urine.

So far, the cause of diabetic nephropathy (DN) is not known for sure. However, hypertension is believed to play a large role in causing this condition. This is because controlling blood pressure has been shown to reduce the progression of diabetes to nephropathy.

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This condition may occur because high blood pressure can cause injury to the cells that line the surface of blood and lymph vessels (endothelium). As a result, blood flow to the kidneys is disrupted.

Therefore, blood pressure and high blood sugar levels are factors that cause kidney damage experienced by diabetics (diabetics).

Berger’s disease (IgA nephropathy)

IgA nephropathy is a condition that is considered an autoimmune kidney disease. That is, the disease is caused by an immune system response that can damage the kidneys.

People with IgA nephropathy usually have high levels of IgA in their blood and contain less galactose (a special sugar) than normal. If IgA is deficient in galactose, this antibody will be considered foreign by other antibodies in the blood.

As a result, other antibodies will attach to the galactose-deficient IgA and form a clot. These clots, called immune complexes, get stuck in the glomerulus and cause inflammation and damage.

For some, Berger’s disease runs in families. In fact, scientists discovered several genetic markers that might trigger the development of the disease.

IgA nephropathy may also be associated with respiratory or intestinal infections and the response of the immune system to these infections.

Analgesic nephropathy

Analgesic nephropathy is a chronic kidney disease caused by excessive and long-term consumption of a mixture of analgesic drugs.

Usually, analgesic drugs containing phenacetin, salicylic acid-paracetamol, and paracetamol-pyrazolone are the trigger for this condition. However, the drug does not work alone because it is combined with addictive substances, such as codeine and caffeine.

How to treat this disease?

If nephropathy, either diabetic nephropathy or Berger’s disease, is diagnosed early, some medications and treatments can reduce the progression of kidney disease.

Here are some nephropathy treatments that are done to reduce kidney damage to become more severe based on its type.

Diabetic nephropathy

The first step taken by doctors to treat diabetic nephropathy is to control diabetes. In addition, blood pressure is also monitored to reduce the risk of complications from kidney disease.

Here are some medicines that are usually given by doctors to control glucose and blood pressure in people with DN.

  • Cholesterol-lowering drugs, such as statins.
  • ACE enzyme inhibitors and angiotensin II receptor (ARB) drugs.
  • Medications to control blood sugar levels, such as metformin and gliptin.
  • Medication to help regulate calcium phosphate balance.
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In addition to the drugs above, diabetic nephropathy also undergoes certain treatments when kidney damage has reached the final stage, namely:

  • dialysis,
  • kidney transplant, or
  • palliative care to relieve symptoms.

IgA nephropathy

Until now, experts have not found a drug that can cure IgA nephropathy. The reason is, injuries to the kidneys tend to be irreparable.

Even so, the doctor will provide drugs and treatments to delay the development of kidney disease as follows.

  • Medication to control blood pressure.
  • Omega-3 fatty acids to reduce inflammation in the glomerulus.
  • Corticosteroid medications, such as prednisone to suppress the immune response.
  • Statin therapy that lowers cholesterol.
  • Mycophenolate mofetil.

The main goal of treatment for IgA nephropathy is that the patient does not need to undergo dialysis (dialysis) or a kidney transplant. However, when the condition gets worse, both options may be necessary.

How to diagnose this condition?

After seeing your general practitioner, your doctor may refer you to a urologist. Then, the doctor will perform various kidney tests, such as:

  • urinalysis, such as a urine microalbuminuria test,
  • blood test to detect levels of urea nitrogen in the blood,
  • creatinine test, and
  • kidney biopsy.

If the results of the examination are not normal, the doctor may examine your condition further. That way, the treatment team can offer a number of treatments that are appropriate for your condition.

What to do when diagnosed with this disease?

Actually, there are several ways you can do to support the treatment of nephropathy from a doctor. That way, you may be able to carry out activities as usual because you are trying to maintain kidney health.

  • Control blood pressure and blood sugar.
  • Follow a healthy diet by avoiding kidney disease food taboos as recommended by a doctor.
  • Avoid using drugs that can damage the kidneys.
  • Regular exercise recommended by the doctor.
  • Pay attention to fluid needs in accordance with the condition of the kidneys.

If you have further questions, please consult your doctor to get the right solution.

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