Autosomal dominant polycystic kidney disease (ADPKD)


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What is autosomal dominant polycystic kidney disease?

Autosomal dominant polycystic kidney disease (ADPKD) causes a lot of fluid-filled sacs, called cysts, to grow in your kidneys. The cysts keep your kidneys from working like they should. That can cause health problems like high blood pressure, infections, and kidney stones. It can also cause kidney failure, although that doesn’t happen to everyone.

How common is autosomal dominant polycystic kidney disease ?

Autosomal dominant polycystic kidney disease (ADPKD) is one of the most common forms of polycystic kidney disease. ADPKD occurs in individuals and families worldwide and in all races. Please discuss with your doctor for further information.


What are the symptoms of autosomal dominant polycystic kidney disease ?

The common symptoms of autosomal dominant polycystic kidney disease  are:

  • Pain in your abdomen (tummy), side or lower back
  • Blood in your urine (haematuria)
  • High blood pressure (hypertension)
  • Kidney stones
  • Recurrent urinary tract infections (utis)
  • Eventually, loss of kidney function – known as chronic kidney disease (CKD)

There may be some symptoms not listed above. If you have any concerns about a symptom, please consult your doctor.

When should I see my doctor?

If you have any signs or symptoms listed above or have any questions, please consult with your doctor. Everyone’s body acts differently. It is always best to discuss with your doctor what is best for your situation.


What causes autosomal dominant polycystic kidney disease ?

ADPKD is caused by a problem with one of two genes in your DNA — PKD1 or PKD2. These genes make proteins in kidney cells that let them know when to grow. A problem with either gene causes kidney cells to grow out of control and form cysts.

Many genetic diseases happen when a person gets broken genes from both parents, but with ADPKD you need only one faulty gene to have the disease. That’s why this kind of PKD is called “autosomal dominant,” meaning only one parent has to pass on a broken gene.

If one parent has the disease, each child has a 50-50 chance of getting it.

You can get ADPKD even if neither of your parents had the disease. This happens when one of your PKD genes gets a defect on its own. But it’s rare for someone to get it this way.

Risk factors

What increases my risk for autosomal dominant polycystic kidney disease ?

There are many risk factors for autosomal dominant polycystic kidney disease , such as:

  • A family history of the disease

Diagnosis & treatment

The information provided is not a substitute for any medical advice. ALWAYS consult with your doctor for more information.

How is autosomal dominant polycystic kidney disease  diagnosed?

If your doctor thinks there’s a problem with your kidneys, she may want you see a nephrologist, a specialist who treats kidney diseases. He’ll ask you questions, like:

  • What kind of symptoms are you having? When did they start?
  • How often do you feel that way?
  • Do you know your blood pressure?
  • Have you been having any pain? If so, where?
  • Have you ever had kidney stones? How often do you get them?
  • Has anyone in your family been diagnosed with kidney disease?
  • Have you ever had a genetic test?

The doctor will do some tests to get images of your kidneys and check them for cysts. He may start with an ultrasound, which uses sound waves to make a picture of the inside of your body. To look for cysts that are too small for an ultrasound to find, he could also use:

  • It uses powerful magnets and radio waves to make pictures of organs and structures inside your body.
  • CT scan. It’s a powerful X-ray that makes detailed pictures inside your body.

Doctors can also test your DNA to see if you have a broken PKD1 or PKD2 gene. But it’s important to know the limits of the test. It can show if you have the gene, but it can’t tell you when you’ll get ADPKD or how severe it will be.

How is autosomal dominant polycystic kidney disease  treated?

There is no cure for ADPKD, but you can treat the health problems that the disease causes and possibly prevent kidney failure. You may need:

  • Medicines to lower your blood pressure
  • Antibiotics to treat urinary tract infections
  • Pain medicines

If your kidneys fail, you’ll need dialysis, which uses a machine to filter your blood and remove waste, like salt, extra water, and certain chemicals. You can also get on a waiting list or receive a kidney from a living donor for a kidney transplant. Ask your doctor if that’s a good option for you.

Lifestyle changes & home remedies

What are some lifestyle changes or home remedies that can help me manage autosomal dominant polycystic kidney disease ?

The following lifestyles and home remedies might help you cope with autosomal dominant polycystic kidney disease :

  • Eat right. Stick to a healthy, well-balanced diet that’s low in fat and calories. Try to limit salt, because it can raise your blood pressure.
  • Stay active. Exercise can help control your weight and blood pressure. Just avoid any contact sports where you might injure your kidneys.
  • Don’t smoke. If you smoke, get help from your doctor to quit. Smoking damages the blood vessels in the kidneys, and it may create more cysts.
  • Drink plenty of water. Dehydration may cause you to have more cysts.

If you have any questions, please consult with your doctor to better understand the best solution for you.

Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.


Review Date: September 7, 2017 | Last Modified: September 7, 2017

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