Polycystic Kidney Disease

Diagnosing Polycystic Kidney Disease

In order to make a definitive diagnosis, your doctor will ask a number of questions related to your medical history. This will include questions about current symptoms, other medical conditions, medications you are taking, and family history of any conditions, including polycystic kidney disease. Your doctor will also perform a physical exam and order certain tests. Some of these tests can include:
  • Ultrasound
  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
  • Computerized tomography scan (CT scan)
  • Genetic testing.
(Click Polycystic Kidney Disease Diagnosis to learn more about how each type is diagnosed.)

Treatment for Polycystic Kidney Disease

There is no PKD cure. Therefore, polycystic kidney disease treatment focuses on relieving symptoms and complications while improving the quality of life.
Specific treatments vary based on the particular symptoms and their severity. Some treatment options include:
  • Medicine and surgery, to reduce pain
  • Antibiotics, to treat infections
  • Dialysis, to replace the function of failed kidneys
  • Kidney transplantation.

Does Diet Play a Role?

At this point, there is no polycystic kidney disease diet that has been shown to affect how many cysts develop or how large the cysts become. Limiting salt intake is important for those with high blood pressure in addition to polycystic kidney disease. A low-fat, moderate-calorie diet is also important to prevent obesity.

How Common Is Polycystic Kidney Disease?

Polycystic kidney disease is one of the most common inherited disorders caused by mutations in a single gene. It affects about 500,000 people in the United States. The autosomal dominant form is much more common than the autosomal recessive form. Autosomal dominant polycystic kidney disease affects 1 in every 400 to 1,000 people, while the autosomal recessive type is estimated to occur in 1 in every 20,000 to 40,000 people.

Polycystic Kidneys

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