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Polycystic kidney disease is a hereditary disease that causes clusters of cysts to grow on the kidneys. The kidneys get larger and eventually stop functioning. The cysts can be small or large, and they are not cancerous. They are filled with fluid, and the disease can cause cysts to grow on other organs in the body. Polycystic kidney disease is sometimes called PKD for short. Treatment can help slow the growth of the cysts and reduce the risk of complications caused by the disease.

What is Polycystic Kidney Disease?

Polycystic Kidney Disease Causes

PKD is caused by a genetic disorder, and it often runs in families. On some occasions, a genetic mutation can also cause the disease. There are two varieties of PKD:

  • Autosomal dominant polycystic kidney disease: This type of PKD is more common in adults, and symptoms do not occur until a person is in their 30s. It can affect children, too. It is passed on from parents, and only one parent needs to carry the gene to pass it on to the child.
  • Autosomal recessive polycystic kidney disease: This type of PKD affects children. The symptoms usually appear a short time after birth but can also develop later on in childhood. It is passed on by the parents, but both parents must carry the gene to pass it on to the child.

Polycystic Kidney Disease Symptoms

The symptoms of PKD can vary. Some people experience strong symptoms from the beginning, and others experience mild symptoms that worsen over time. These symptoms can include:

  • High blood pressure
  • Back or side pain
  • Headache
  • A feeling of fullness in the abdomen
  • Swollen abdomen
  • Blood in urine
  • Kidney stones
  • Kidney failure
  • Urinary tract
  • Kidney infections

Polycystic Kidney Disease Symptoms

Polycystic Kidney Disease Diagnosis 

Doctors diagnose PKD by looking for the cysts or by listening to a patient discuss their symptoms. They use a few different tests to confirm their diagnoses. These tests include:

  • MRI: The doctor can see images of the kidneys from different angles and look for cysts on other organs, as well.
  • X-ray: Doctors can look inside the body to see if there are cysts on the kidneys or other organs. This also gives them a better idea of how big the cysts are or how many are present.
  • CT scan: Doctors can look inside the body to see the kidney and determine if there are any cysts and if the kidneys are swollen or inflamed.

Polycystic Kidney Disease Treatment and COMPLICATIONS

There is no cure for PKD, but it can be managed and treated to avoid the risk of complication. Some of the common complications that doctors work to prevent include:

Polycystic Kidney Disease Complications

Polycystic Kidney Disease Prognosis

With the proper treatment, people who suffer from PKD can live normal lives. In some cases, the disease can be aggressive and lead to kidney failure at a young age. Working to avoid complications and living a healthy lifestyle can help improve the quality of life and help keep the disease under control.

Polycystic kidney disease, Nephrology


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