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Polycystic kidney syndrome

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Polycystic kidney syndrome is a genetic condition. Round, fluid-filled cysts in the kidneys are characteristic to this disease. If these cysts bursts they can lead to urinary tract infections, high blood pressure as well as kidney failure.

Overview of polycystic kidney syndrome

Polycystickidney syndrome also known as polycystic kidney disease (PKD) is a cystic genetic disease. Cysts can be formed anywhere in the body like the liver, pancreas as well as heart and brain in some rare cases. Kidneys are widely and severely affected with this condition. The cysts usually occur in one kidney, and gradually appear in both kidneys, by the time the affected person reaches adulthood. The fluid filled cysts cause enlargement of the kidneys and can turn fatal.

Types of Polycystic Kidney Disease

Occurrence of the polycystic kidney syndrome can be of two types. This includes autosomal dominant polycystic kidney disease (ADPKD) and autosomal recessive polycystic kidney disease (ARPKD).

Autosomal dominant polycystic kidney disease

This is the most common type of polycystic disease. This disease is characterized by development of progressive cysts. Both kidneys are enlarged and show the growth of multiple cysts (polycystic).

The fetus starts developing these cysts. These cysts start enlarging causing the nephrons to get separated. This causes the kidneys to function abnormally.

Most affected people do not develop any symptoms till they reach adulthood. Thus, it is often called as adult PKD.

Autosomal recessive polycystic kidney disease

This is a rare condition that can lead to 30% death in affected neonates. The kidneys in this condition retain their shape. But have abnormalities in the ducts from the medulla that reach the cortex. The symptoms appear very early in life, at times the fetus may show signs.

Symptoms of polycystic kidney disease

Symptoms of autosomal dominant polycystic kidney disease

This condition develops symptoms in the affected person in the teenage years or as late as in the 30s or 40s. The symptoms appear when the healthy tissue is replaced by cysts. These include:

Symptoms of autosomal recessive polycystic kidney disease

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The symptoms of recessive PKD appear in utero or soon after birth. They include:

  • Reduction in the amount of amniotic fluid around the fetus
  • The shape of the face is unusual, called as Potter facies of the baby
  • Enlarged abdomen due to enlargement of the kidneys, liver and spleen
  • Cardiac abnormalities
  • Abnormal lungs
  • Kidney failure soon after birth or within a few weeks after birth

Diagnosis of polycystic kidney disease

Autosomal dominant PKD is often detected when the person is undergoing tests for other diseases, like urinary tract infection.

The tests for PKD include:

  • Physical examination
  • USG examination
  • CT Scan
  • MRI

In case of recessive PKD, the diagnosis is based on the symptoms exhibited by the child at birth.

Treatment polycystic kidney syndrome

There is no cure for polycystic kidney syndrome. The treatments offered help in the management of symptoms and prevention of complications.

These include:

  • Treatment and control of high blood pressure with medications
  • Pain medications for pain in kidney, abdomen, etc.
  • Removal of cysts to relieve severe pain and discomfort in the kidneys
  • Treatment of bladder infection and kidney infection with antibiotics
  • Haematuria can be treated by drinking a lot of fluids to dilute the urine and prevent blood clots from obstructing the urinary tract
  • Dialysis of the kidney or kidney transplantation in case of kidney failure
  • Aneurysm need to be screened regularly and any presence of these aneurysms can be treated by surgical clipping to reduce the risk of bleeding.

Polycystic kidney syndrome leads to kidney failure in 50% of patients over 60 years of age. The treatment will help manage the symptoms and prevent complications for many years. Thus, make sure you undergo regular checkups and follow the doctor's instructions carefully.

Written by: healthplus24.com team

Date last updated: February 11, 2015