Polycystic kidney disease is a type of kidney disease, specifically classified as a genetic condition. Often called PKD, this condition is characterized by the growth of cysts in the kidneys.
These cysts are filled with fluid and can cause the enlargement of the kidneys. Because of their location, these cysts can replace the normal structure of the kidneys, which can reduce the overall function level and quality of the kidneys. Those with this condition may develop kidney failure as a result.
When PKD does progress and leads to kidney failure, it usually takes a number of years. Most patients will need treatment through dialysis or kidney transplantation in this case.
It’s estimated that about half of those who have the most common type of this condition will progress to end stage renal disease or ESRD. These cysts can also form in the liver and in other organs. In some cases, they can form in the blood vessels that lead to the brain and heart.
There are two main types of PKD, autosomal dominant PKD and autosomal recessive PKD.
- Autosomal dominant PKD is the most common form and is inherited. Symptoms usually occur when the individual reaches 30 to 40 years of age. About 90 percent of all conditions are this form.
- Autosomal recessive PKD is a rare form. The symptoms occur in the early months of life, often prior to birth.In both conditions, treatment from a doctor is necessary to ensure quality of life.
Those who have this condition also often have other complications. Urinary tract infections, blood in the urine, live cysts, pancreatic cysts and abnormal heart valves are some of them. High blood pressure, aneurysms, and kidney stones may also occur.
In many patients even those who get help for kidney disease, the condition can progress to end stage renal disease. This condition’s treatment is dialysis and sometimes kidney transplant. Your doctor will work with you to find the best treatment plan for your needs.
Written by Patrick Ireland