Polycystic Kidney Disease is the most common genetic, life threatening disease affecting more than 600,000 Americans and an estimated 12.5 million people worldwide - regardless of sex, age, race or ethnic origin. In fact, PKD affects more people than cystic fibrosis, muscular dystrophy, hemophilia, Down syndrome and sickle cell anemia combined.
Polycystic means multiple cysts. In effect, PKD denotes multiple cysts on each kidney. These cysts grow and multiply over time, also causing the mass of the kidney to increase. Ultimately, the diseased kidney shuts down causing end-stage renal disease for which dialysis and transplantation are the only forms of treatment.
PKD comes in two forms. Autosomal Dominant Polycystic Kidney Disease (ADPKD) is the most common, affecting 1-in-400 to 1-in-500 adults. Autosomal Recessive Polycystic Kidney Disease (ARPKD) is far less common, affecting 1-in-10,000 at a far younger age, including newborns, infants and children.
Polycystic Kidney Disease has many symptoms. Individuals with polycistic kidney disease may not experience all of the symptoms. Some of the most common symptoms are: frequent kidney infections, high blood pressure, back and side pains, blood in the urine, urinary tract infections, liver and pancreatic cysts, abnormal heart valves, kidney stones, anuerysms (bulges in the walls of blood vessels) in the brain and diverticulosis (small sacs on the colon).