Polycystic kidney disease (also called PKD) is a disease in which clusters of cysts develop and grow primarily within your kidneys. This causes the kidney to enlarge and lose function. The cysts are noncancerous round sacs filled with fluid. The cysts vary in size and they can grow very large. The kidneys can become damaged, if too many cysts grow or if they get too big. Cysts can slowly replace much of the kidneys which reduces kidney function and leads to kidney failure. Polycystic kidney disease also can cause cysts to develop in your liver and elsewhere in your body. The disease can cause serious complications, including high blood pressure and kidney failure.
There are 3 major types of PKD:
- Autosomal dominant PKD is the most common inherited form. Symptoms usually develop between the ages of 30 and 40, but they can begin earlier, even in childhood. About 90 percent of all PKD cases are autosomal dominant PKD.
- Autosomal recessive PKD is a rare inherited form, which can be diagnosed in the womb or shortly after a baby is born
- Acquired cystic kidney disease (ACKD) is a non-inherited form and it tends to occur later in life. This may develop in association with long-term kidney problems, especially if a child has kidney failure and has been on dialysis for a long time.
Polycystic kidney disease symptoms can include
- High blood pressure
- Back or side pain
- A feeling of fullness in the abdomen
- Increased size of the abdomen due to enlarged kidneys
- Blood in urine
- Kidney stones
- Kidney failure
- Urinary tract or kidney infections
At present, there is no cure for PKD. However, recent studies suggest that drinking plain water throughout the day and avoiding caffeine in beverages can slow the growth of cysts. Many supportive treatments can be done to control symptoms and help slow the growth of cysts.
- Careful control of blood pressure
- Early treatment with antibiotics of a bladder or kidney infection
- Lots of fluid when blood in the urine is first noted
- Following a healthy lifestyle with regards to quitting smoking, weight control, reduce stress and reduced salt intake
- Drinking lots of plain water throughout the day
- Avoiding caffeine in all beverages
- Exercise for at least 30 minutes a day, most days of the week.
- Take all prescription medicines as your doctor tells you to.
- Do not take more than the recommended dose of over-the-counter medicines.