Autosomal Dominant Polycystic Kidney Disease
Who Is Affected by This Disease?Autosomal dominant polycystic kidney disease is thought to occur equally in men, women, and people of all races; however, some studies suggest that it occurs more often in Caucasians than in African Americans, and more often in females than in males. Autosomal dominant polycystic kidney disease affects 1 in every 400 to 1,000 people.
Symptoms of Autosomal Dominant Polycystic Kidney DiseaseThe most common symptoms of autosomal dominant polycystic kidney disease are:
- Pain in the back and the sides (between the ribs and hips)
When a person experiences headaches, the dull pain can be temporary or persistent, and mild or severe.
Other symptoms can include:
- Urinary tract infections (UTIs)
- Hematuria (blood in the urine)
- High blood pressure (hypertension)
- Abnormal heart valves
- Kidney stones
- Pancreatic cysts
- Liver cysts
- Diverticulosis (small sacs on the colon)
- Aneurysms (bulges in the walls of blood vessels) in the brain.
In most cases of autosomal dominant polycystic kidney disease, the person's physical condition appears normal for many years, or even decades, and the disease can go unnoticed. Physical checkups, along with blood and urine tests, may not lead to a diagnosis. Some people live for many years without knowing they have autosomal dominant polycystic kidney disease because of its slow, undetected progression.
Once cysts have formed, however, diagnosis is possible with one or several of the following tests:
- Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
- Computerized tomography scans (CT scans)
- Genetic testing.
(Click Polycystic Kidney Disease Diagnosis for more information on diagnosing autosomal dominant polycystic kidney disease.)