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Everything You Need to Know About Polycystic Kidney Disease

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Everything You Need to Know About Polycystic Kidney Disease

Renal Sciences | Posted on 06/22/2022 by RBH

Do you often notice blood in the urine but ignore it? Did you know it can be a sign of polycystic kidney disease? Yes, you heard it right. Generally, people overlook such signs and later regret them. Kidney diseases are one of the serious illnesses which require a doctor's immediate consultation. If you aren’t unaware of polycystic kidney disease and don’t know the causes or symptoms behind it, then, in this blog, you will find a comprehensive discussion on this aspect. Make sure to read it till the end. Kindly note it is for informative purposes only and doesn’t rule out the consultation of a doctor.

What is polycystic kidney disease?

Polycystic kidney disease is a genetic disorder causing cysts that are fluid-filled to form in the kidneys. It leads to kidney function impairment and potential kidney failure. An individual having this condition generally experiences issues like abdominal pain, urine blood, back pain, the urge to urinate often, etc. It is among the fourth primary causes of kidney failure. People having this condition also experience developed cysts in the liver along with other complications.

What are the polycystic kidney disease symptoms? 

Most people with polycystic kidney disease live for years without observing any symptoms of the illness. Here are some of the polycystic kidney disease symptoms: 

  • Abdomen tenderness or pain 
  • Heaviness and pain in the back
  • Fatigue 
  • Joint pain
  • Urinary tract infections 
  • Urge to urinate often 
  • Side pains 
  • Kidney stones 
  • Pale skin 
  • Bruising on the skin 
  • Nail anomalies

Children who have autosomal recessive polycystic kidney disease experience symptoms like:

  • Urinary tract infections 
  • Urge to urinate often 
  • High blood pressure 

Symptoms in children might seem like any other illness. It is vital to consult a healthcare professional for clinical attention. 

What are the causes of polycystic kidney disease?

Abnormal genes are one of the primary causes of polycystic kidney disease. It means that in most cases, the illness keeps moving in families. There are times when genetic mutations happen on their own. There are two types of polycystic kidney disease which becomes the causes of PKD which includes: 

  • Autosomal dominant polycystic kidney disease- Signs and symptoms of this type of PKD generally occur between the age of 30-40. Earlier, it was known as adult polycystic kidney disease, however, children can also develop this condition. This type has around a 50% of chance that is passed on to generations
  • Autosomal recessive polycystic kidney disease- This type of polycystic kidney disease is less common than other types. The symptoms of this type are usually seen shortly after birth. However, this doesn’t happen as the symptoms might not appear later in childhood or during adolescent age.

What are the complications of polycystic kidney disease?

If timely treatment is not considered after diagnosis of polycystic kidney disease, then it can pose serious complications. Here are some of the polycystic kidney disease complications: 

  • High blood pressure 
  • Kidney function loss 
  • Chronic pain 
  • Growth of cysts in the liver 
  • Development of aneurysm in the brain 
  • Pregnancy complications 
  • Heart valve anomalies 
  • Colon issues 

What is the process for polycystic kidney disease diagnosis?

For polycystic kidney disease diagnosis, there are certain tests ordered by the doctor. With these tests, the doctor will not only be able to confirm the diagnosis but also can evaluate the severity and situation of kidney diseases. Here are the following tests which are generally recommended: 

  • Magnetic resource imaging- MRI scan is ordered as with the use of magnetic fields and magnetic waves it becomes easier for the doctor to have a cross-sectional view of the kidneys. 
  • Ultrasound- A wandlike device known as a transducer is placed on the patient’s body during an ultrasound. It involves emitting the sound waves and a computer translating the reflected sound waves into kidney images.
  • CT scan- A doughnut-shaped device is guided projecting thin X-ray through the patient’s body which allows the doctor to view cross-sectional kidney images. 

What are the options for polycystic kidney disease treatment?

The primary aim of polycystic kidney disease treatment is managing the symptoms and avoiding complications. The most important part of the treatment is controlling high blood pressure. Here are some of the treatment options: 

  • Pain medications except for ibuprofen as it can damage the kidneys and worsen the situation
  • Medications to control blood pressure 
  • Antibiotics for treating urinary tract infections 
  • Diuretics for removing the excess fluid from the body 
  • Surgery for draining cysts and relieving discomfort 
  • Low-sodium diet
  • Dialysis-The patient might need dialysis for filtering the blood outside the body. It involves using the belly lining and a special fluid to filter the blood 

What are the prevention tips for polycystic kidney disease?

Here are some of tips for polycystic kidney disease prevention: 


People with polycystic kidney disease can lead a normal life. If you are diagnosed with PKD, you don’t have to get apprehensive as with right treatment options it can be managed. It is important to know that around half of people with PKD require dialysis or a kidney transplant because of kidney failure, but it is mostly for people who are over 70. The most important part is that you shouldn’t delay the treatment. If you are looking for healthcare services, then consult Rukmani Birla Hospital, one of the finest multispecialty hospitals in Jaipur.


Is polycystic kidney disease fatal?

Yes , polycystic kidney disease is fatal as it tends to progressing rapidly. 

Can polycystic kidney disease skip a generation?

No, polycystic kidney disease doesn’t skip a generation 

What gene causes polycystic kidney disease?

 Polycystic kidney disease1 (PKD1) or polycystic kidney disease 2 (PKD2) are two mutations in the genes causing PKD.

Can polycystic kidney disease be cured?

No cure is available for polycystic kidney disease, however, the symptoms can be managed with certain treatment options.

Can you die from polycystic kidney disease?

No, people with polycystic kidney disease can lead a normal life, but it doesn’t imply to people who are over 70

Can you drink alcohol with polycystic kidney disease?

A limited amount of drinking is allowed for people with polycystic kidney disease, but is for patients who aren’t on dialysis 

How to prevent polycystic kidney disease?

The best way to prevent polycystic kidney disease is to manage weight, eat healthily, quit smoking, manage blood pressure, and exercise regularly.