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Polycystic Kidney Disease

  • What is Polycystic Kidney Disease?

    Polycystic kidney disease (PKD) is a hereditary condition characterised by the growth of cysts (sacs of fluid) on the kidneys. PKD can affect both kidneys, with cysts growing and multiplying until they constrict the healthy kidney tissues and affect kidney function. PKD can cause hypertension, kidney stones, frequent urinary tract infections and brain aneurysms (bulging of brain arteries).

    There are 2 types of PKD:

    • Adult polycystic kidney disease
    • Infantile polycystic kidney disease (rare)
  • Polycystic kidney disease is an inherited kidney disease, whereby the abnormal genes causing the disease are passed down from the parents to their offspring.

  • The symptoms of PKD include:

    • Blood in urine
    • High blood pressure
    • Pain in the back and sides
    • Upper abdominal pain associated with liver and pancreatic cysts
    • Urinary tract infection
  • There is currently no cure for PKD. Instead, treatment options aim to manage your symptoms and the complications associated with this disease. Depending on your condition, your doctor will suggest the treatment that suits you best. These include:

    • High blood pressure control to delay the development of the disease and prevent subsequent kidney damage
    • Increasing fluid intake to help dilute urine and therefore avoid the incidence of blood in the urine
    • Kidney dialysis or a kidney transplant if your kidneys fail to remove excess fluid and waste from the body
    • Management or surgical removal of brain aneurysms (bulging in brain arteries) to avoid aneurysm rupture and bleeding
    • Painkillers to ease the chronic side and back pain, which is a common symptom of PKD
    • Surgery to drain cysts if they are causing severe pain or blocking other organs and blood vessels
    • Treatment of urinary tract infection using appropriate antibiotics
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