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Kidney Disease
                                                                          — A Guide for Patients

        IgA NEPHROPATHY                                       MULTIPLE MYELOMA
           This is the commonest form of glomerulone-            This is a cancer of plasma cells. Plasma cells are
        phritis in the developed countries of the world. IgA  a type of white blood cell present in your bone
        is short for Immunoglobulin A, an antibody which      marrow. Multiple myeloma may cause kidney
        usually helps the body to fight infections and        problems, including kidney disease. Higher calcium
        toxins encountered in the gut and lungs. In IgA       levels in the blood, due to damage to the bones
        nephropathy, IgA is deposited in the glomerulus,      caused by the myeloma, can interfere with the
        where they cause inflammation and scarring. In one    kidneys’ ability to filter your bloods waste. The
        third of cases, it goes on to cause progressive        proteins produced by the myeloma cells can cause
        severe damage to the kidneys. IgA                            similar problems, especially if you become
        nephropathy tends to be slowly            “Plasma cells        dehydrated.
        progressive, and so the process of         are a type of
        the kidney disease can take 10 to                                 VASCULITIS
        30 years.                                white blood cell            This term refers to a group of
                                                 present in your         diseases characterised by inflammation
        MULTISYSTEM DISEASES                                             of the blood vessels. Vasculitis causes
        AFFECTING THE KIDNEY                         marrow.”          changes in the walls of the blood vessels,
           The kidney may be affected in many                       resulting in thickening, weakening, narrowing
        ways by diseases which are not directly               and scarring. It is usually due to the body producing
        associated with kidney function. This is mainly       antibodies that attack blood vessels throughout
        because the kidneys have a rich blood supply, and     the body. Vasculitis may affect blood vessels of any
        come into close contact with all elements of the      type, size or location and, therefore, may cause
        blood.                                                dysfunction in any organ system, including the
                                                              kidneys, lungs, skin and joints. Some of the types
        SLE (Systemic Lupus Erythematosus)                    of vasculitis which can cause kidney dysfunction
           This is a chronic auto-immune inflammatory         include:
        disease which affects joints, blood vessels, skin,
        the nervous system and the kidneys. Inflammation
        of the glomeruli, within the kidneys, may result in       ● Henoch Schonlein Purpura
        protein and blood loss in the urine and high blood        ● Microscopic Polyangitis
        pressure. Kidney problems often occurs within
        three years of diagnosis of SLE.                          ● Polyarteritis Nodosa
                                                                  ● Wegeners Granulomatosis
           Amyloidosis is the term given to a group of
        chronic disorders characterised by the presence of       A blood test called ANCA is commonly positive
        deposits of an abnormal protein called amyloid. This  in vasculitis and is used to monitor the activity of
        systemic disease can affect the heart, nervous        this disease. Vasculitis can be very successfully
        system, liver and kidneys. Within the kidneys, the    treated, particularly if diagnosed early and treated
        amyloid is usually deposited in the walls of the      with powerful immuno-suppressive medications.
        kidney arteries and the glomeruli's blood vessels.       These medications include high doses of
        This may result in abnormally high levels of protein  steroids,   cyclophosphamide,      CellCept,   and
        in urine and can lead to progressive kidney disease.  Azathioprine.

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