Polycystic Kidney Disease (PKD)

Lifelong management to preserve your kidney health and prevent renal failure

Polycystic kidney disease (PKD) results in fluid-filled cysts that form in the kidneys. These growths can crowd normal tissue and cause loss of kidney function.

Polycystic kidney disease (PKD) is an inheritable condition. There are two types of PKD:

Autosomal Dominant

This type of PKD, which accounts for 90 percent of cases, usually develops in adulthood. If one of your parents has this condition, you have a 50 percent chance of developing it.

Autosomal Recessive

This rare form of PKD begins early in life, sometimes before birth.

Symptoms

You can have polycystic kidney disease for years before developing any symptoms. Symptoms typically develop in your 30s or 40s. Symptoms include:

PKD can cause kidney failure (end-stage renal disease). However, many people with PKD never develop kidney failure, and a variety of lifestyle changes and treatment options can prevent or delay the loss of kidney function.

Polycystic kidney disease can also cause cysts in other parts of your body, including your liver, spleen and pancreas. About 20 percent of people with polycystic kidney disease also have mitral valve prolapse (leaky heart valve).

Overview

Polycystic kidney disease (PKD) is an inheritable condition. There are two types of PKD:

Autosomal Dominant

This type of PKD, which accounts for 90 percent of cases, usually develops in adulthood. If one of your parents has this condition, you have a 50 percent chance of developing it.

Autosomal Recessive

This rare form of PKD begins early in life, sometimes before birth.

Symptoms

You can have polycystic kidney disease for years before developing any symptoms. Symptoms typically develop in your 30s or 40s. Symptoms include:

PKD can cause kidney failure (end-stage renal disease). However, many people with PKD never develop kidney failure, and a variety of lifestyle changes and treatment options can prevent or delay the loss of kidney function.

Polycystic kidney disease can also cause cysts in other parts of your body, including your liver, spleen and pancreas. About 20 percent of people with polycystic kidney disease also have mitral valve prolapse (leaky heart valve).

IU Health physicians use imaging studies, including ultrasound, computed tomography (CT) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to diagnose and monitor polycystic kidney disease.

Diagnosis

IU Health physicians use imaging studies, including ultrasound, computed tomography (CT) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to diagnose and monitor polycystic kidney disease.

Although there is no cure for the PKD, treatment for this condition centers on controlling blood pressure and managing symptoms in order to preserve your kidney function. Treatment options include:

Lifestyle changes

A low-sodium diet can reduce stress on your kidneys. Exercise and a low-fat diet can help control your blood pressure. IU Health dietitians work with you to develop a nutrition plan that is gentle for your kidneys and good for your overall health. You may need to follow a specific diet based on your needs.

Medicine

Research shows that blood pressure medicines called angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors and angiotensin receptor blockers (ARB) help limit kidney damage while also lowering your risk for heart disease. You may need to take blood pressure medicines even if your blood pressure is normal.

Treatment

Although there is no cure for the PKD, treatment for this condition centers on controlling blood pressure and managing symptoms in order to preserve your kidney function. Treatment options include:

Lifestyle changes

A low-sodium diet can reduce stress on your kidneys. Exercise and a low-fat diet can help control your blood pressure. IU Health dietitians work with you to develop a nutrition plan that is gentle for your kidneys and good for your overall health. You may need to follow a specific diet based on your needs.

Medicine

Research shows that blood pressure medicines called angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors and angiotensin receptor blockers (ARB) help limit kidney damage while also lowering your risk for heart disease. You may need to take blood pressure medicines even if your blood pressure is normal.

Patient Stories for Polycystic Kidney Disease (PKD)

National Kidney Foundation

This nonprofit organization outlines the symptoms, causes, diagnosis and treatment of polycystic kidney disease and many other conditions.

PKD Foundation

This nonprofit group provides patient-friendly answers to common questions about polycystic kidney disease.

Resources

National Kidney Foundation

This nonprofit organization outlines the symptoms, causes, diagnosis and treatment of polycystic kidney disease and many other conditions.

PKD Foundation

This nonprofit group provides patient-friendly answers to common questions about polycystic kidney disease.