Polycystic Kidney

By Medically reviewed by hellodoktor


What is polycystic kidney?

Polycystic kidney disease is a genetic disorder that causes numerous cysts to grow in the kidneys. A kidney cyst is an abnormal sac filled with fluid. Polycystic kidney disease cysts can greatly enlarge the kidneys while replacing much of their normal structure, resulting in chronic kidney disease, which causes reduced kidney function over time.

The two main types of polycystic kidney disease are autosomal dominant polycystic kidney disease and autosomal recessive polycystic kidney disease.

  • Polycystic kidney disease cysts are different from the usually harmless “simple” cysts that often form in the kidneys later in life.
  • Polycystic kidney disease cysts are more numerous and cause complications, such as high blood pressure, cysts in the liver, and problems with blood vessels in the brain and heart.

How common is polycystic kidney?

Estimates of polycystic kidney disease‘s prevalence range from one in 400 to one in 1,000 people. Polycystic kidney disease exists around the world and in all races. This disorder occurs equally in women and men, although men are more likely to develop kidney failure from polycystic kidney disease. Women with polycystic kidney disease and high blood pressure who have had more than three pregnancies also have an increased chance of developing kidney failure.

However, it can be managed by reducing your risk factors. Please discuss with your doctor for further information.


What are the symptoms of polycystic kidney?

Many people live with polycystic kidney disease for years without experiencing symptoms associated with the disease. It depends on the size of cysts that your symptom may appear, cysts typically grow 0.5 inches or larger before a person starts noticing symptoms. Some common symptoms associated with polycystic kidney disease can include:

  • Pain or tenderness in the abdomen
  • Blood in the urine
  • Frequent urination
  • Pain in the sides
  • Urinary tract infection (UTI)
  • Kidney stones
  • Pain or heaviness in the back
  • Skin that bruises easily
  • Pale skin color
  • Fatigue
  • Joint pain
  • Nail abnormalities

Children with autosomal recessive polycystic kidney disease may have symptoms that include:

  • High blood pressure
  • Frequent urination

Symptoms in children may resemble other disorders.

When should I see my doctor?

Early diagnosis and treatment can stop polycystic kidney disease from worsening and prevent another medical emergency, so talk to your doctor as soon as possible to prevent this serious condition.

If you have any signs or symptoms listed above or have any questions, please consulting 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 polycystic kidney?

The disorder of genes cause polycystic kidney disease and the genetic defects mean the disease runs in families. Rarely, a genetic mutation can be the cause of polycystic kidney disease. There are two main types of polycystic kidney disease, caused by different genetic flaws:

  • Autosomal dominant polycystic kidney disease (ADPKD): Signs and symptoms of ADPKD often develop between the ages of 30 and 40. In the past, this type was called adult polycystic kidney disease, but children can develop the disorder. Only one parent needs to have the disease in order for it to pass along to the children. If one parent has ADPKD, each child has a 50 percent chance of getting the disease. This form accounts for about 90 percent of cases of polycystic kidney disease.
  • Autosomal recessive polycystic kidney disease (ARPKD): This type is far less common than is ADPKD. The signs and symptoms often appear shortly after birth. Sometimes, symptoms don’t appear until later in childhood or during adolescence.

Risk factors

What increases my risk for polycystic kidney?

Polycystic kidney disease is an inherited one; therefore, it is considered there may be no way to prevent this condition.

Diagnosis & Treatment

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


How is polycystic kidney diagnosed?

In term of polycystic kidney disease’s diagnose, certain tests can detect the size and number of kidney cysts you have and may evaluate the amount of healthy kidney tissue, including:

  • Ultrasound exam: During an ultrasound, a wand-like device called a transducer is placed on your body. It emits inaudible sound waves that are reflected back to the transducer — like sonar. A computer translates the reflected sound waves into images of your kidneys.
  • Computerized tomography (CT) scan: As you lie on a movable table, you’re guided into a big doughnut-shaped device that projects very thin X-ray beams through your body. Your doctor is able to see cross-sectional images of your kidneys.
  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan: As you lie inside a large cylinder, magnetic fields and radio waves generate cross-sectional views of your kidneys.

How is polycystic kidney treated?        

The important goal of polycystic kidney disease treatment is to manage symptoms and prevent complications. Monitoring high blood pressure is the most important part of treatment. Some of the treatment options may include:

  • Pain medication, except Ibuprofen, which is not recommended as it may worsen kidney disease
  • Blood pressure medication
  • Antibiotics to treat UTIs
  • A low sodium diet
  • Diuretics to help remove excess fluid from the body
  • Surgery to drain cysts and help relieve discomfort

With advanced polycystic kidney disease that causes renal failure, dialysis and kidney transplant may be necessary. One or both of the kidneys may need to be removed.

Lifestyle changes & Home remedies

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

A dietitian specializes in helping people who have kidney disease choose the right foods and plan healthy meals. People with any kind of kidney disease, including polycystic kidney disease, should talk with a dietitian about foods that should be added to their diet and foods that might be harmful. Polycystic kidney disease may require diet changes for blood pressure control. Kidney disease in general also calls for certain diet changes.

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: March 2, 2017 | Last Modified: September 12, 2019

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