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What to know about polycystic kidney disease?

Home / What to know about polycystic kidney disease?

What to know about polycystic kidney disease?

When we talk about genetic disorders, polycystic kidney disease (PKD) must cross our mind. This is because this condition is not as rare as people think. Genetic disorders are mostly hereditary diseases unless some environmental exposure causes a mutation in the genetic frame of a person. In polycystic kidney disease, some clumps of cysts-like structures appear on your kidney. This leads to inflammation in the kidney resulting in failure through the course of time. One should not confuse these cysts with cancerous masses rather they are just small bags filled with fluid. The shape and size of these bags can differ and some can even grow abnormally very big. The presence of multiple cysts in your kidney damages the internal and external parts of the kidney leading to failure.

PKD is considered dangerous because of its property to become a potential precursor of liver cysts and cystic development in other regions of the body. Other than kidney failure, PKD can lead to many serious diseases such as heart-related disease and hypertension.

In some cases of PKD, the patient can survive and even prevent it from developing. However, the intensity of this disease can really differ from person to person. So, PKD can also be very complicated in terms of being severe in some patients. It is important for a person with this disease to remain in direct and regular contact with the doctor to prevent the rate of damage to the kidney due to this condition.

What are the symptoms of polycystic kidney disease?

Polycystic kidney disease symptoms can become very clear at certain stages. Some of these symptoms are:

  • Hypertension
  • Lower back pain
  • Hematuria (Blood in urine)
  • Heavy abdomen
  • UTIs
  • Acute kidney failure
  • Headache
  • Increase in the size of the kidney

What are the complications of polycystic kidney disease?

  • Kidney failure: One of the primary reasons PKD is considered dangerous is because it can cause the kidney to lose its functionality over some period of time. About 50% of the population with this disease develop kidney failure at some point in their age.  This genetic disorder hinders the kidney from filtering waste from the blood with full efficiency leading to the accumulation of unwanted products in the blood. As a result, the kidney gradually loses its function and develops failure.
  • Hypertension: As PKD acts as an obstacle to the functionality of the kidney and the kidney happens to be the regulation center of blood pressure, PKD causes the development of high blood pressure. This creates a degradation loop for the kidney because hypertension further damages the kidneys.
  • Cysts in other organs: as already mentioned above, kidney cysts can act as a precursor for the development of cysts in other organs, especially in the liver. This risk of cystic development in the liver from PKD increases as the patient gets old. Women tend to be at a greater risk of this secondary cystic development.
  • Complications in pregnancy: PKD, in some pregnant women, can lead to the development of symptoms such as high blood pressure, proteinuria, kidney damage, and other organ damage.

What are the causes of polycystic kidney disease?

PKD is a genetic disease which means that it is a result of some mutation in the human genetic system of the human. In most cases, this genetic mutation is inherited while in some rare cases, these mutations are caused by some environmental exposure. Polycystic kidney disease can be autosomal dominant or recessive.

In autosomal dominant PKD, the mutation happens to be on a dominant gene. This means if one parent passes this gene to the offspring, it is certain for that baby to express this gene. In this type of PKD, the symptoms of this condition develop in the latter stages of life.

In autosomal recessive PKD, it is important for the development of this disease in the offspring that both parents must pass on the defective gene. This is not the common type of PKD and the symptoms of this disease tend to appear very early in the patients.

When to seek medical attention for polycystic kidney disease?

Polycystic kidney disease can really be silent for years as generally there are no symptoms of it until 30. However, as the symptoms start to appear, they become very clear. One should not wait to see a doctor if they feel to develop any signs of this disease. Also, if you belong to a family which have a history of this disease you should get in touch with a doctor to get examined for PKD. This is because although one cannot completely treat Polycystic kidney disease anyone can surely prevent the rapid damage to the kidneys due to the dangerous disease.


There is a lot to discuss for a patient having polycystic kidney disease to prevent the progression of this disease to further generations.

If you are suffering from any of the above-mentioned symptoms or you belong to a family with a history of PKD, get in touch with the best nephrologists and other kidney doctors at Alpha Kidney Care:

To fix an appointment, contact:  Alfa Kidney Care