Is polycystic kidney disease serious?

Anjay Rastogi, MD
Polycystic kidney disease (PKD) is a serious disease that has no cure. PKD is a systemic disorder that is frequently accompanied by other morbidities, such as hernias and problems related to grossly enlarged kidneys, cysts in surrounding organs including the liver and pancreas, brain aneurysms and cardiac abnormalities. Because the disease can present at any stage of life, a comprehensive PKD program must include expertise in both adult and pediatric care. About half of all people with PKD will have kidney failure by age 60.

A growing understanding of PKD has led to significant advances in slowing disease progression and postponing the need for dialysis to well into middle age in many cases. Education is the foundation for these quality-of-life gains. Education efforts include diet and hydration, exercise, pain control and psychological health.

We currently do not have a cure or even a specific therapy for ADPKD but this is a very active area of research with multiple trials going on at UCLA.

This content originally appeared online at UCLA Health

Polycystic kidney disease (PKD) is a serious genetic disease. There is no cure or treatment to stop the cysts from growing and damaging the kidneys. Current treatments can decrease symptoms and possibly slow the rate of kidney damage. Over time, the extensive kidney damage may lead to kidney failure, at which point dialysis or a kidney transplant is needed for survival.

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