Polycystic kidney disease (PKD) is an inherited disorder which causes blister-like cysts to develop in the kidneys. As these fluid-filled cysts slowly increase in size, they compress healthy tissue and impair kidney function.
Polycystic kidney disease is the most common inherited disease of the kidneys, affecting a half-million Americans.
Autosomal dominant polycystic kidney disease (ADPKD), usually referred to as the adult form of PKD, is by far the most common type of polycystic kidney disease. Though present early in life, this disease generally remains unnoticed until a person develops symptoms in middle-age.
If one parent has ADPKD, his or her children have a 50 percent chance of inheriting the disease. However, if a child does not inherit ADPKD, neither will the child’s offspring.
Autosomal recessive polycystic kidney disease is found in infants, and is much less common than the adult form. While neither parent may have polycystic kidney disease, both carry the defective gene and pass it on to their child. Children with this disease usually die in infancy or early childhood.
Symptoms of polycystic kidney disease include tenderness in the back, side, or abdomen; blood in the urine; noticeable enlargement of the abdomen; high blood pressure; or a urinary tract infection.
Even though no cure has been found for polycystic kidney disease, the progression of the disease can be slowed through controlling blood pressure, medication, a special diet, regulating fluid intake, and avoiding certain drugs like ibuprofen.
Talk to your health care provider if you feel you are at risk for polycystic kidney disease.