Which patient groups are at highest risk for immunoglobulin A (IgA) nephropathy?

Updated: May 19, 2020
  • Author: Sohail Abdul Salim, MD, FASN, FACP; Chief Editor: Vecihi Batuman, MD, FASN  more...
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IgA nephropathy is more common in Asians and whites and is rare in blacks, both in the United States and in Africa. The condition is frequently observed in Native Americans of the Zuni and Navajo tribes.

IgA nephropathy is more common in males than in females. Virtually all studies show a male predominance of at least 2:1, with reported ratios of up to 6:1. [12] The higher male predilection is observed in white patients in northern Europe and the United States.

IgA nephropathy can affect all ages but is most common in the second and third decades of life. Eighty percent of patients are aged 16-35 years at the time of diagnosis. The condition is uncommon in children younger than 10 years.

Lifestyle and risk of progression to end stage renal disease

In a study by Huang et al in Chinese subjects with IgA nephropathy, which compared cases that progressed to end-stage renal failure (ESRF) with controls that did not, the proportion of patients who were males, smokers, alcohol drinkers, and physically inactive was signficantly higher in cases than in controls. Alcohol use proved to be an independent risk factor for progression to ESRF, while regular exercise was associated with decreased risk; males who did not exercise seemed especially likely to progress to ESRF. These authors concluded that physical exercise should be encouraged in IgA nephropathy patients, especially in males, for a better renal outcome, and cessation of alcohol use might help prevent disease progression. [13]

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