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Genetic and Rare Diseases Information Center (GARD)

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Polycystic kidney disease


* Not a rare disease
Other Names for this Disease
  • PKD
  • Polycystic kidneys
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What are the signs and symptoms of polycystic kidney disease?

Signs and symptoms vary greatly from person to person. But affected individuals typically develop multiple cysts in both kidneys, which impair their ability to filter waste products from the blood. Later in the disease, the cysts cause the kidneys to become enlarged and can lead to kidney failure. Cysts may also develop in other organs, particularly the liver.[1]

Frequent complications of polycystic kidney disease include dangerously high blood pressure (hypertension), severe pain in the back or sides, blood in the urine (hematuria), recurrent urinary tract infections, kidney stones, and heart valve abnormalities. People with this condition also have an increased risk an aortic aneurysm in the brain (an abnormal bulging of the large blood vessel at the base of the brain). Aneurysms can be life-threatening if they tear or rupture.[1]

Last updated: 12/8/2011

  1. Polycystic kidney disease. Genetics Home Reference. 2006; Accessed 12/8/2011.