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Polycystic kidney disease, caused by mutation of genes, affects millions of people worldwide and manifests as cystic lesions within the kidneys that produce cysts that gradually grow over time and put pressure on nearby tissues that prevent proper function and may impede proper performance altogether. Cyst enlargement further limits functioning capacity by restricting kidney size, thus negatively affecting the health of the host. What happens to the body when you have polycystic kidney disease?

Dr. Bismah addresses polycystic kidney disease by detailing its features, smoking history, and exposure to volcanic toxins at higher levels.

The Harmful Effects Polycystic Kidney Disease Leads to the Body

PKD disrupts kidney structure and function through:

  • Cyst Formation: Multiple cysts form within each kidney, replacing healthy tissue. 
  • Kidney Enlargement: Growing cysts cause the kidneys to expand causing surrounding organs or blood flows to become affected.
  • Reduced Function: Damaged tissue becomes less effective at filtering waste and fluids from your system, leading to decreased kidney function and potential failure.
  • High Blood Pressure: Polycystic kidney disease is frequently accompanied by high blood pressure that can, in turn, worsen the damage of the kidney which can result in disease progression much faster.

Types of PKD

PKD exists in two main forms

  • Autosomal Dominant: Most prevalent, occurring in about 85% of cases, with cyst development typically in adulthood, between ages 30 and 50.
  • Autosomal Recessive: Less common but more severe, usually diagnosed in infancy or childhood, with cyst development starting prenatally and potential for early-life complications.

What are the Signs and Symptoms of PKD?

While cysts may have been present from birth, the observed symptoms may appear far later in adulthood. Common indicators may include;

  • Hypertension
  • Abdominal or flank pain
  • Frequent urination, including nocturia
  • Hematuria
  • Urinary tract infections
  • Kidney stones
  • Fatigue
  • Anemia

Read more: CKD risk factors

Estimated Prevalence and Risk Factors in America

A survey shows that the number of Americans with Polycystic kidney disease is about 600,000 and it is the expected (4th) cause of kidney failure in the country. The risk of passing this gene to offspring increases when parents with the condition also have a 50% chance of doing so themselves.

Is PKD Preventable?

Are You Wondering, “Can Premature Kidney Development (PKD) Be Prevented?” Unfortunately, there is currently no proven method for preventing preterm birth (PPD). However, genetic testing may provide insight as to whether we carry the gene for it, providing invaluable knowledge that may aid with family planning or early diagnosis purposes.

Strategies to Combat Pediatric Kidney Disease

Although PKD cannot be treated, various measures can help manage its progression:

  • Blood Pressure Management: Regulating ideal blood pressure levels through lifestyle adjustments or medications is central to protecting against kidney damage and slowing its progress.
  • Medication to control Pain: Medication can provide effective pain management of abdominal or flank discomfort associated with PKD.
  • Diet and Hydration: Eating healthfully while staying hydrated will support healthy kidney functioning. A diet low in salt and protein and adequate fluid consumption is critical in improving renal health.
  • Regular Monitoring: Regular blood and urine tests can provide important clues as to changes to kidney health that require attention, including early identification of any changes that might indicate declining kidney performance or any potential health risks.
  • Lifestyle Adjustments: Maintaining a healthy weight, participating in routine physical activity and forgoing smoking are all ways that could contribute to an enhanced level of wellness, possibly slowing PKD progression and lengthening lifespan.

Holistic Approach to PKD Management

What happens to the body when you have polycystic kidney disease

Even though there is no cure for PKD, taking a kidney holistic approach to care may significantly enhance patient quality of life and possibly slow disease progression. 

  • Stress Management: Prolonged exposure to chronic stress can increase blood pressure levels and accelerate kidney deterioration. Stress management may offer practical solutions to reduce anxiety levels and enhance well-being.
  • Dietary Modifications: While there’s no set PKD diet, adhering to one low in salt, protein, and phosphorus will support kidney health.
  • Herbal Support: Herbal remedies may offer potential health benefits; however, discussing them with your physician first is wise, as some herbs might interfere with medications or aggravate kidney impairment.

Experience Living With Polycystic Kidney Disease can be intimidating, yet through proper management and support individuals can lead fulfilling lives.

Important Points of Consideration

Individuals living with PKD should discuss family planning options with their healthcare provider as soon as they become pregnant, in particular genetic counseling which provides invaluable insights into the risks of passing down this condition to future offspring.

Association With Other Conditions

Dr. Bismah offers resources on potential conditions that coexist with PKD on his website, including those such as:

  • High Blood Pressure: As mentioned previously, PKD often leads to hypertension which can be effectively managed with medication and lifestyle adjustments.
  • Lupus: Lupus, an autoimmune condition, may occasionally resemble the symptoms associated with PKD and be cause for alarm. Dr. Bismah offers guidance through her blog post, “Does Lupus Make You Smell Bad?” to identify any correlations between weight fluctuations associated with Lupus and fluctuations caused by Lupus.

Final Thoughts

Although PKD can be an ongoing condition, with proper care and dedication to healthy living, individuals with PKD can still live long and fulfilling lives. We hope this blog post has provided helpful insight and resources; however, this information should never replace professional medical advice, so please always seek the advice of healthcare providers when managing PKD!