Polycystic Kidney Disease

Polycystic Kidney Disease

Polycystic kidney disease (PKD) is a genetic disorder that causes many cysts to form in the kidneys.

Nationally about 7.4 per cent of end-stage kidney disease patients have PKD as their primary diagnosis. In Manitoba that number is 4.9 per cent. (source) About 1 in 500 Canadians will be affected by PKD. Half of those diagnosed experience kidney failure by the time they’re 54. (source)

How is PKD diagnosed?

  • History of PKD in the family
  • Ultrasound or other imaging
  • Genetic testing

Types of PKD

Autosomal dominant polycystic kidney disease (ADPKD)

  • A more common genetic kidney disorder
  • Usually a family history of the disease and parents with ADPKD have a 50 percent chance of passing the disease on to each of their children
  • Many patients living with ADPKD can live with the disease symptom-free for many years before requiring additional medical care

Autosomal recessive polycystic kidney disease (ARPKD)

  • A more rare genetic disorder
  • Affects boys and girls equally
  • Most children living with ARPKD will require a transplant early on, between the ages of 4 and 10 years old
  • In some cases, symptoms of ARPKD do not appear until later on in childhood or even into adolescent years

How are the kidneys affected?

  • The kidneys become large because of the cysts
  • These grape like cysts can start taking over the function of the kidneys
  • As the cysts grow, they slowly damage the kidneys
  • Can lead to kidney failure

What are some signs and symptoms that patients with PKD can experience?

  • Pain in the back and lower sides
  • Urinary tract infections
  • Blood in the urine
  • Kidney stones
  • High blood pressure

How is PKD managed?

  • Medications
  • Low salt diet
  • Healthy lifestyle
  • Antibiotics to treat infection
  • If your kidney disease declines to end stage kidney disease you will need: Dialysis treatment, Kidney transplant, No treatment/End of life care

More Information

PKD Foundation of Canada