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A personal story about the battle with polycystic kidney disease


Polycystic Kidney Disease

What is Polycystic Kidney Disease?

Polycystic kidney disease is an inherited disease characterized by the growth of numerous cysts filled with fluid in the kidneys. Polycystic kidney disease cysts can slowly replace much of the mass of the kidneys, reducing kidney function and leading to kidney failure.

Polycystic kidney disease can also cause cysts in the liver and problems in other organs, such as the heart and blood vessels in the brain. The cysts may also cause pain or may get infected. There are two types of Polycystic kidney disease (autosomal dominant and autosomal recessive).

Polycystic kidney disease is also called PKD.

Types of Polycystic Kidney Disease

Autosomal dominant Polycystic kidney disease is inherited. This kind of Polycystic kidney disease accounts for about 90 percent of all Polycystic kidney disease cases. The term "Autosomal dominant" means that if one parent has the disease, there is a 50 percent chance that the disease will pass to a child.

Autosomal recessive Polycystic kidney disease is also inherited. This type of Polycystic kidney disease is rare. Parents that do not have the disease can have a child with the disease. How can this happen? If both parents carry the recessive gene and pass the recessive gene to their child, the child will have two recessive genes and develop the disease.

What are the symptoms of Polycystic kidney disease?

Polycystic Kidney Disease has many symptoms. Individuals with Polycystic kidney disease may not experience all of the symptoms.

Some of the most common symptoms of polycystic kidney disease are:

Polycystic Kidney Disease Statistics

  • Polycystic Kidney Disease is the most common inherited disease in the United States
  • Children of parents with Polycystic kidney disease have a 50% chance of getting the disease
  • Polycystic kidney disease is the fourth leading cause of kidney failure.
  • In the United States, about 500,000 people have Polycystic kidney disease.

How will Polycystic Kidney Disease affect my health?

Most people with Polycystic kidney disease can lead a normal life. In most people, Polycystic kidney disease is mild and causes only minor problems. In severe cases, Polycystic kidney disease can cause kidney failure. About 60% of patients develop high blood pressure. High blood pressure can be treated with medication. About 50% of patients with Polycystic kidney disease have kidney failure by age 60. Dialysis and kidney transplants are both effective treatments for kidney failure. Polycystic kidney disease is generally worse in men, African Americans and patients with sickle cell disease.

Will other organs be be hurt by Polycystic kidney disease?

Maybe. People with Polycystic kidney disease may also have cysts in their liver. However, the cysts in the liver seldom cause problems. Heart valve problems sometimes occur. Other organs that may be affected include the brain, intestines, pancreas, ovaries and spleen. If polycystic kidney disease affects the brain, it can cause an aneurysm (a bulging blood vessel that can rupture).

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