Polycystic Kidney Disease

What is Polycystic Kidney Disease?

Polycystic Kidney Disease (PKD) is a genetic disease characterized by the growth of numerous fluid-filled cysts that can result in malformed or enlarged kidneys. These cysts can slowly replace the mass of both kidneys, reducing their function and leading to kidney failure. PKD can also cause cysts in the liver and affect the spleen, the pancreas, the heart, and the blood vessels in the brain.

There are two types of PKD. Autosomal Dominant Polycystic Kidney Disease (ADPKD) is the most common type, accounting for 90% of all PKD cases. Symptoms of the disease usually develop around age 30-40 but can begin as early as childhood. Because of the late development of symptoms, ADPKD is often called “the adult type PKD.” The second type, Autosomal Recessive Polycystic Kidney Disease (ARPKD) is very rare with symptoms usually developing in the womb or during the first few months of life.

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