Metro Renal Associates
Nephrologists located in Washington, DC & Capitol Heights, MD
When left untreated, polycystic kidney disease (PKD) can lead to kidney failure, and though there’s no cure, it is possible to slow the growth of cysts and manage the symptoms effectively. The team of nephrologists at Metro Renal Associates in Washington, DC, is experienced in helping men and women with polycystic kidney disease maintain their renal health and keep complications at bay. For help with polycystic kidney disease, call the office or schedule an appointment online today.
Polycystic Kidney Disease Q & A
What is polycystic kidney disease?
PKD is a genetic disease that causes cysts (round fluid-filled sacs) to form in your kidneys, enlarging and changing the shape of this vital organ. The cysts vary in size, and the seriousness of PKD is related to the number and size of the cysts you have. If you have too many cysts, or your cysts are very big, you’re at risk of progressively losing kidney function.
About half of people with PKD have kidney failure by age 60. Other complications of polycystic kidney disease include:
- High blood pressure, which can further damage your kidneys if left untreated
- The growth of cysts in the liver, which can cause digestive symptoms
- Aneurysm, if cysts spread to your brain
- Pregnancy complications, especially in women with PKD who have high blood pressure before becoming pregnant
- Chronic pain, which may result from urinary tract infections or kidney stones, common among people with PKD
- Heart valve abnormalities, as valves can become “floppy” if PKD spreads to your heart
Because PKD runs in families, you may be concerned about passing it to your children. To pass on PKD, both parents must carry the gene for the disease. If you have PKD and are considering having children, the team at Metro Renal Associates can refer you and your partner to a genetic counselor who can evaluate your risks and provide you with personalized support for family planning concerns.
What are the symptoms of PKD?
Most people don’t show signs of PKD until they’re between the ages of 30-50, though in rare cases children have symptoms. If you have PKD, you may first experience symptoms such as:
- High blood pressure
- Pain in your back or side
- Blood in urine
- Bloating or a feeling of fullness in your abdomen
- Frequent urinary tract infections or kidney infections
- Kidney stones
The team at Metro Renal Associates usually diagnoses PKD through an ultrasound but may recommend genetic testing if imaging tests are inconclusive.
How is PKD treated?
Unfortunately, there’s no cure for PKD, but thankfully, through early diagnosis and taking steps to keep your kidneys healthy, you can slow and even prevent serious complications from PKD. Treatments for PKD at Metro Renal Associates include:
- Controlling high blood pressure through diet and medication
- Drinking clean water throughout the day
- Promptly addressing urinary tract and kidney infections with antibiotics
- Increasing your fluid intake when you notice blood in urine
- Avoiding caffeine and quitting smoking
- Taking pain medication that your provider approves as safe for your kidneys
PKD may be painful and frightening, but if you know how to manage it, you can keep your kidneys healthier for longer. To schedule an appointment at Metro Renal Associates, call or use the online booking feature.
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