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Understanding and Preventing PKD Complications

According to the National Kidney Foundation, more than 600,000 people have polycystic kidney disease in the United States. PKD is one of the leading causes of kidney failure in men and women.

Living with PKD is a challenge, especially if you don't have it under control. Knowing the complications allows you to take the necessary steps to slow down the progression of the disease and prevent kidney failure.

The Metro Renal Associates team in Washington, D.C., and Capitol Heights, Maryland, are experts in kidney disorders like PKD. Our three board-certified nephrologists provide tips and treatments to keep your kidneys working properly.

The facts on PKD

Polycystic kidney disease, or PKD, is a genetic disorder that leads to the growth of cysts in and on the kidneys. Unlike simple kidney cysts, PKD is a severe chronic problem that may lead to kidney failure.

The cysts that form in the kidneys cause the organs to enlarge. When the kidneys are more enlarged than usual, they struggle to filter the wastes out of the blood, leading to kidney damage.

Two primary forms of PKD exist. The first type, autosomal dominant PKD, is the most prevalent form of the disease. It often occurs in adulthood. Autosomal recessive PKD is rare and happens with babies in the uterus or soon after birth.

The symptoms of PKD vary and include flank or back pain, blood in the urine, and high blood pressure. You may also suffer from frequent headaches. Sometimes, there are no symptoms at all, making it difficult for doctors to diagnose.

Prevalent PKD complications

PKD isn't something you should push to the side; it's a severe disorder with dangerous complications to your health. Without the proper treatment, people with PKD are at high risk for the following issues:

  • Urinary tract infections
  • Kidney stones
  • Kidney failure
  • High blood pressure
  • Heart valve disorders
  • Liver cysts
  • Brain aneurysms
  • Colon problems

The longer PKD goes without treatment, the more risk you have of developing these complications. If you have a history of kidney problems in the family, are having blood in the urine, or experiencing flank pain, seek an evaluation immediately.

Preventing complications from PKD

Living with PKD can be challenging, especially when you first get the diagnosis. Thousands of questions may be circling through your mind, especially about staying healthy.

There's good news, though: You can slow the progression of the disease, which may lessen the chances of developing severe complications. A few of the ways you can prevent PKD complications include:

Eat a healthy diet

Changing what you eat may be necessary with PKD. Living with high blood pressure and PKD means making specific dietary changes to keep your weight down and your blood pressure under control.

Quit smoking

Smoking is detrimental to various aspects of your health, including the kidneys. It causes further vessel damage, which may lead to severe complications.

Maintain a healthy weight

Excess weight puts strain on your kidneys, further damaging them when you have PKD. We give you tips and tricks to lose weight to keep your kidneys functioning properly.

Reduce your stress

Stress is a significant issue, especially when you have PKD. It can creep into your life, slowly raising your blood pressure and causing various health complications. We can recommend healthy ways to cope with stress and stressful life events to get your kidneys back on track.

Take blood pressure medications

Managing your blood pressure is one of the best things you can do for PKD. The longer your blood pressure stays elevated, the more damage you can have to your kidneys.

If you're on blood pressure medication, take it every day as we direct you. It could be the difference between complications and healthy kidneys.

It's also important to stay physically active with PKD. Exercising at least 30 minutes daily allows you to manage stress, lose weight if necessary, and lower blood pressure, all of which are essential aspects of managing PKD.

To find out more about managing PKD, don't hesitate to call Metro Renal Associates today for an appointment or request a consultation using the online booking tool.

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