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Diseases & Conditions

Easy-to-understand answers about diseases and conditions

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  • IgA nephropathy

    IgA nephropathy, also known as Berger disease, is a kidney disease. It occurs when the kidneys accumulate a protein called immunoglobulin A (IgA) that fights germs. This leads to inflammation, causing swelling that can make it difficult for the kidneys to filter waste from the blood over time. IgA nephropathy typically progresses slowly over the years, but its course varies from person to person. Some people experience blood leakage into their urine without any other issues, while others may suffer complications, including kidney function loss and protein spillage into urine. Some individuals may develop kidney failure, which means the kidneys cease to work effectively enough to filter the body’s waste. There is no cure for IgA nephropathy, but medication can slow its progression. Some people may require treatment to decrease inflammation, reduce protein spillage into the urine, and prevent kidney failure. Such therapies may help the disease become inactive, a condition known as remission. Keeping blood pressure under control and lowering cholesterol levels can also slow the disease’s progression.

  • Illness anxiety disorder

    Excessive worrying about serious illness or believing minor symptoms indicate a severe illness is known as illness anxiety disorder, hypochondriasis, or health anxiety. Even after a medical examination, no serious medical condition may be found, despite the belief that physical symptoms are associated with a specific, serious illness. This anxiety can cause severe distress, disrupting daily life. Illness anxiety disorder is a long-term condition that may fluctuate in severity with age or during stress. However, psychotherapy and medication can help ease worries. The American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) no longer recognises hypochondriasis as a separate diagnosis. Instead, individuals previously diagnosed with hypochondriasis may now be diagnosed with illness anxiety disorder, which focuses on fear and worry related to uncomfortable or unusual physical sensations that could indicate a severe medical condition. Somatic symptom disorder, a related disorder, is characterised by the focus on the disabling nature of physical symptoms such as pain or dizziness without the accompanying worry of a specific illness.

  • Idiopathic hypersomnia

    Idiopathic hypersomnia is a rare sleep disorder characterized by excessive daytime sleepiness, even after a restful night’s sleep, and an unexplained urge to sleep at any given moment. It is also associated with difficulty in waking up after sleeping and experiencing confusion upon awakening. Unlike typical naps, which typically refresh, naps for those with idiopathic hypersomnia often provide little relief and can lead to disorientation upon waking. This disorder can manifest unexpectedly, posing risks such as drowsiness while driving or working. The onset of idiopathic hypersomnia is gradual, and its diagnosis involves excluding more common sleep disorders. Managing this condition involves utilizing medication to mitigate symptoms and regain control over one’s wakefulness.