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Ask the Medical Expert Archives 2000-2004

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Berger's Disease
December 2002

Q. My son has just been diagnosed with Berger's disease. Could you give me some information about this disease and what treatments, if any, are available? Does this disease lead to kidney failure?

A. Berger's disease is an inflammatory condition of the kidney whose cause is unknown. It often begins with blood appearing in the urine but no other evidence of renal dysfunction. The diagnosis is made by taking a biopsy (tissue sample) of the kidney for laboratory analysis, which shows deposits of IgA antibodies in the kidney tissue. In some cases the condition remains stable without worsening of kidney function, and in some there is slow decline of kidney function over many years. Estimates are that 25% of patients will have renal failure over a 25 year time span. Other manifestations of kidney problems such as high blood pressure and edema (swelling) can occur. Treatment is usually directed by a nephrologist.



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