What is polycystic kidney disease?
A cyst is a fluid-filled sac. Polycystic means many cysts. Polycystic kidney disease (PKD) is a disorder in which many cysts form in both of your kidneys. Your kidneys get larger and don't work as well.
PKD runs in families
You may have pain in your side, blood in your urine, high blood pressure, or crampy pain caused by kidney stones
Symptoms usually start when people are in their 20s, although some people with PKD don't notice symptoms
Doctors can treat some of the problems PKD causes, but they can’t stop cysts from forming
More than half of people with PKD eventually develop kidney failure and need dialysis or kidney transplantation at some point in their life
With PKD, you may also have cysts in other organs, such as your liver and pancreas.
Polycystic Kidney Disease
What are the complications of PKD?
Kidney cysts can
Get infected and cause urinary tract infections Urinary Tract Infections (UTI)
What are the symptoms of PKD?
You may not have any symptoms of PKD. If you do, you may notice:
Pain in your side or belly
If you have complications of PKD, you may notice:
Blood in your urine if a cyst breaks open
The need to urinate (pee) often or fever if the cysts become infected
Feel tired or sick to your stomach if you have developed chronic kidney disease Chronic Kidney Disease Your kidneys are 2 bean-shaped organs that produce urine. They're about the size of your fist and are in the back of your abdomen, near your spine. Kidneys balance your body’s water and mineral... read more
How do doctors tell if I have PKD?
Doctors suspect PKD if it runs in your family or if a test done for another reason shows that your kidneys are bigger than normal or have cysts. To find out if you have PKD, doctors do imaging tests of your kidneys, such as:
Ultrasound Ultrasonography Ultrasonography is a safe imaging test that uses sound waves to create a moving picture of the insides of your body. Ultrasonography doesn't use radiation (x-rays). Ultrasonography is also called... read more , or sometimes CT scan Computed Tomography A CT scan uses a large machine shaped like a large donut to take x-rays from many angles. A computer then takes the x-rays and creates many detailed pictures of the inside of your body. Each... read more or MRI Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) MRI is a test that uses a machine with a powerful magnet to make pictures of the inside of your body. A computer records changes in the magnetic field around your body. The computer then uses... read more
If these tests show you have PKD, doctors do blood tests at regular intervals to check your kidney function. Doctors sometimes recommend that you and certain close relatives get genetic testing for PKD. Genetic testing can help you understand if there’s a chance you'll pass the gene defect that causes PKD to your children.
How do doctors treat PKD?
Treat any urinary tract infections. kidney stones, or high blood pressure
If cysts cause severe pain, doctors may drain the fluid from individual cysts
If your symptoms are very severe, doctors may do surgery to remove a kidney
If you have severe kidney failure, do dialysis Dialysis Dialysis is an artificial process for removing waste products and excess fluids from the body, a process that is needed when the kidneys are not functioning properly. There are a number of reasons... read more or a kidney transplant Kidney Transplantation Kidney transplantation is the removal of a healthy kidney from a living or recently deceased person and then its transfer into a person with end-stage kidney failure. (See also Overview of Transplantation... read more