Polycystic kidney disease is a chronic health problem that often goes undetected due to lack of knowledge. In this article, you will get a brief overview about the polytheistic kidney disease.
Polycystic kidney disease, also referred to as PKD in short, is a condition in which a multiple number of cysts develop inside the kidneys. These cysts are small fluid-filled sacs and are benign in nature. They are found in both the kidneys, but they may appear in one kidney before the other. The cysts are of various sizes and tend to grow as more fluid gets accumulated inside them. As these cysts grow, the size and weight of the kidneys also increase.
Polycystic kidney disease is an inherited condition and is caused due to a genetic defect. There are two different forms of genetic defects that can cause this disease. Based on that, polycysitc kidney disease is categorized into two different types. The more common type is autosomal dominant polycystic kidney disease (ADPKD), where the cysts develop when a person is in between the age of 30 and 40. Even if only one parent has the genes for ADPKD, then there is a high chance that it will be passed onto the child. The other one is autosomal recessive polycystic kidney disease (ARPKD), and it develops soon after the birth of the child. This disease is passed onto the child only if both the parents are having the disease.
The impact of polycystic kidney disease is different for different people. Some people may experience only mild symptoms, while in others it may stop normal functioning of the kidneys. Some commonly observed signs and symptoms are as follows:
- Back pain accompanied by flank pain.
- Blood in the urine.
- High blood pressure.
- Recurrent kidney infections.
- Urinary tract infection.
- Increase in abdominal size.
- Kidney stones.
- Kidney failure.
- Abdominal wall hernia.
In many cases, it happens that the disease goes undetected for many years, as there may be no recognizable symptoms. Those with severe symptoms are diagnosed more easily. Besides a physical examination, a series of laboratory tests like a blood test, urine test, ultrasound, and CT scan are conducted for proper diagnosis of the disease. Unfortunately, there is no treatment that can cure this kidney disease. Therefore, doctors try to treat the symptoms that are bothering the patient.
Doctors first try to reduce the high blood pressure with medicines. This is because lowering of the blood pressure can reduce the chances of the kidney damage to some extent. The patient are also advised to follow a diet. It should consist of foods with low fat and low sodium content. They should also take proteins and calories only in limited amounts.
The chronic pain in the back and side is controlled with the help of proper pain relieving medicines. Do not try to treat this kind of pain with any over-the-counter pain killers. Blood in the urine can be controlled by increasing the fluid intake and adequate amount of rest. Infections in the urinary bladder or kidneys are treated with the help of oral antibiotics. If the kidneys stop functioning normally, then the patient has to undergo dialysis for the removal of the accumulated waste products from the blood. It is only in some rare cases that doctors may opt for a surgery This kind of surgery is recommended only in those cases where the size of the cysts have grown large, and result in severe pain and other health complications. During the surgery, the fluid from the cysts is drained out.
As it is a genetic condition, there is no way that you can prevent it. If you are diagnosed with polycystic kidney disease, you have to make an effort to keep your kidneys in a healthy condition at all times. For this, you have to follow the diet recommended by your doctor, maintain a healthy body weight, and exercise regularly. You have to learn to deal with the problem in order lead a productive life. If you feel the need, you can consult a counselor or psychologist, who will provide you with the right guidance to cope up with the condition.