Less than 150,000 people in the US suffer from IgA Nephropathy, a rare chronic autoimmune disease that affects the kidneys. The rarity of this disease leaves patients and their families feeling isolated and unsupported. Recently Andrew Udell, North America President at Calliditas Therapeutics and Judy Akin an IgA Nephropathy Patient and Advocate conducted a satellite media tour to talk about IgAN and available resources to diagnose it and treat.
IgA nephropathy, sometimes referred to as IgAN, is a chronic autoimmune disease and is a leading cause of end-stage kidney disease with more than half of IgAN patients progressing to require dialysis or kidney transplant within 20 years of initial diagnosis. Although this disease affects kidneys and often results in kidney disease, it actually originates outside of the kidneys and it thought to start in the gut.
Similar to other chronic autoimmune diseases, the burden of IgA nephropathy is significant. Only 130,000-150,000 people in the United States suffer from this disease, so patients and their families are often left feeling like they are living on an island with nowhere to turn to for support. Thankfully changes are happening. Both advocacy groups and biopharmaceutical companies are working towards providing support, education, and finding new treatments for this complicated disease.
Whether you’ve just been diagnosed with IgA nephropathy (IgAN) or you’ve been living with the disease for many years, there are available resources to support you. IgAN Connect can help you understand IgAN, approaches to management, and ways to help you live with this chronic autoimmune disease. IgAN Connect also provides helpful information and resources you may need today or in the future. For more information and resources related to IgAN go to iganconnect.com.
It is also always recommended that individuals living with IgA nephropathy, or their loved ones, speak directly with their doctor and engage with the numerous advocacy groups that exist to provide support.
About Andy Udell
As President, North America at Calliditas Therapeutics, Andrew Udell has more than 20 years of commercial experience in the pharmaceutical industry. Before joining Calliditas, Andrew worked as Vice President of North America Commercial at NeuroDerm. Andrew began his career in the pharmaceutical industry in various sales and marketing positions, including being responsible for a multi-functional team for a multi-billion franchise.
Judy is an IgA nephropathy advocate. After her diagnosis with the rare disease in 2019, she began to share about her experiences through a written blog and on the social media platform TikTok. Judy has around 4000 followers on her TikTok account. Most of them are people living with various forms of chronic illness. A lot of her videos focus on the chronic pain and kidney disease that so often results from IgA nephropathy as well as the lifestyle choices she makes to help manage her disease.