Polycystic Kidney Disease – Causes, Symptoms, Diagnosis, And Treatment
What is polycystic kidney disease?
Polycystic kidney disease (PKD) is an inherited kidney disorder. It causes clusters of fluid-filled cysts to form in the kidneys. This disorder causes the kidneys to enlarge and lose function over time. Polycystic kidney disease affects people of all ages and gender.
What causes polycystic kidney disease?
Polycystic kidney disease (PKD) is an inherited disorder (passed down through families). It can either be inherited from one parent or both parents. What exactly triggers the cysts to form is unknown.
There are two inherited forms of PKD: autosomal dominant PKD and autosomal recessive PKD.
Autosomal dominant PKD is more common. It causes cysts to form only in the kidneys. It is sometimes called adult PKD because people with this form of PKD might not notice any symptoms until they are between 30 and 50 years old.
Autosomal recessive PKD causes cysts to form in the kidneys as well as the liver. This type of PKD is sometimes also called infantile PKD because babies tend to show signs of this disease in their first few months of life, or even before they are born.
PKD is linked to the following conditions:
- Brain aneurysms
- Aortic aneurysms
- Cysts in the liver, pancreas, and testes
- Diverticula of the colon
What are the symptoms of polycystic kidney disease?
The following are the symptoms of polycystic kidney disease:
- Flank pain on one or both sides
- Abdominal pain or tenderness
- Joint pain
- Blood in the urine
- Excessive urination at night
- Nail abnormalities
How is polycystic kidney disease diagnosed?
Your doctor will perform a physical examination and review your symptoms. The examination may reveal:
- Upper abdominal tenderness (over the liver)
- Enlarged liver
- High blood pressure
- Heart murmurs or other signs of aortic insufficiency or mitral insufficiency
- Growths in the kidneys or abdomen
The doctor may order the following tests:
- Complete blood count (CBC) to check for anemia
- Liver tests (blood)
- Cerebral angiography
The doctor may do the following tests to look for PKD and cysts on the liver or other organs:
- Abdominal CT scan
- Abdominal MRI scan
- Abdominal ultrasound
- Intravenous pyelogram (IVP)
How is polycystic kidney disease treated?
PKD is not curable. The focus of the treatment would be to control symptoms and prevent complications. Treatment usually includes blood pressure medicines, diuretics (water pills), and a low-salt diet.
If there is urinary tract infection, the doctor will treat it with antibiotics.
The doctor may recommend surgical drainage of the cysts that are painful, infected, bleeding, or causing a blockage. This will provide some relief from symptoms.
Depending on the kidney damage, surgery may be recommended to remove one or both kidneys.
The doctor may recommend dialysis or kidney transplant for end-stage kidney disease.
This feature is for informational purposes only and is not intended to substitute the expert guidance of a doctor. We advise seeing a doctor if you have any health concerns.