They also tend to be more common among people who have chronic health conditions.
It’s OK to not be OK. While you don’t want to dwell on your diagnosis or let it define you, it’s OK to have bad days or feel angry or sad sometimes. Don’t ignore or brush off your feelings as that can have the opposite effect in the long run. Ask for help if and when you need it.
Play an active role in your care. People who are more involved in their care tend to feel less stressed. Learn as much as you can about your IgA Nephropathy and stage of kidney disease. Make sure you understand your treatment options and write down your questions and concerns before each visit.
For many people with IgA Nephropathy, there is lots of stress waiting for lab results. Routine blood tests and urine samples are the main way you and your provider can see how your kidneys are working and if there have been any changes.
Keeping a log of kidney test results, daily blood pressure readings and other vital signs and looking at trends over time (try not to focus on a single number) generally helps patients feel more at ease and in control. Learning to read your urine – if it’s foamy or very dark in color – can help too. Also talk about what might be behind any spikes in your kidney numbers or changes in the look of your urine (for example, high blood pressure, getting over an illness, not drinking enough water) so you can feel more in charge of your health.
Surround yourself with people who understand. IgA Nephropathy can be isolating, especially as o few people have it or understand what it is. You may grieve friends who just don’t get it or may distance themselves.
Join a support group or find someone else who has the condition so you can talk about your feelings and hardships, share stories, tips and advice. The IgA Nephropathy Foundation holds a virtual support group on the 3rd Monday of the month.
Seek professional. Many people say that seeing a therapist or counselor has been very helpful and gives them a safe place to talk through their feelings, as well as ways to approach uncertainty and challenges. If needed, medications like antidepressants or anti-anxiety medications can be tried.
There are many types of mental health professionals, including:
Family and couples counseling can also be helpful if managing IgA Nephropathy is affecting your relationships.
Find healthy ways to cope with stress or feelings of depression.
Ask yourself, what can I do that will help me feel better? For example:
Do activities you enjoy and give your life a sense of purpose. Even though you might need to make changes, for example, maybe you tire easily, don’t put your life on hold.
Take time to pause and focus on the present, especially when everything feels like it’s too much. Don’t worry about what tomorrow, next week or next year will bring; take some deep breaths and reset. Find mindfulness practices you like (for example, yoga, deep breathing, muscle relaxation); these can help relax your body and mind.
Eat regular, healthy meals. Fuel your body with good nutrition throughout the day so you don’t run on empty. Not eating well or skipping meals can leave you with little energy, making it harder to cope.
Be active every day. Regular exercise not only boosts your mood and energy level, it’s also good for your overall health, it can lower blood pressure, and help you feel better able to face challenges.
Don’t skimp on sleep. Stick to a regular bedtime and wake up time – 7-8 hours of quality ZZZs a night is best.