Eliminate Polycystic Kidney Disease

Polycystic kidney disease results when cysts form in the kidneys, eventually enlarging the kidneys and reducing kidney function, often leading to kidney failure. The truth is that there is currently no cure for polycystic kidney disease (PKD) and no way to completely eliminate the disease. However, the progression of PKD can be slowed through medication, lifestyle choices and regular doctor visits. It is important to remember that the severity of PKD varies from patient to patient, and the probability of renal failure depends on the number and size of the cysts.


Eliminate Polycystic Kidney Disease

1. Control your blood pressure. PKD can lead to chronic high blood pressure, which can further damage the kidneys and even lead to aneurysms and other high blood pressure-related conditions. Individuals suffering from PKD must take steps to control their blood pressure by exercising regularly and eating a low-sodium, low-fat, lower-protein diet. Most PKD sufferers will also have to take prescription blood pressure-lowering medications as well as diuretics, which both reduce blood pressure and water retention. Quitting smoking and minimizing stress also help control blood pressure.

Treating PKD-related pain with prescription or over-the-counter pain medications can also help reduce stress, increase comfort and slow the progression toward kidney failure.

2. Treat infections early to prevent further kidney damage. Individuals with PKD are especially prone to kidney, bladder and urinary tract infections. In order to avoid further damaging the kidneys, it is important for infections to be treated promptly with antibiotics. An untreated infection can lead to further, irreversible damage to the kidneys.

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3. Undergo surgery to remove painful and/or massive cysts. Even though draining and/or removing cysts can temporarily help alleviate severe pain, it will not stop the progression of the disease. However, an individual with reduced pain is more likely to exercise regularly and present less stress, generally resulting in lower blood pressure. Removing large cysts can temporarily restore some kidney function although the disease’s natural progression means that more cysts will eventually form in the kidney again.

4. Get regular checkups. Going to the doctor once or twice a year for a checkup and blood work can help your doctor detect complications, infections and massive cysts that can speed up the progression of PKD to end-stage kidney failure. Preventive care can slow the progression of the disease through early treatment intervention.

5. Undergo kidney dialysis or kidney transplant. According to the National Kidney and Urological Diseases Information Clearinghouse, 50 percent of the 600,000 Americans suffering from PKD will eventually require dialysis, removal of one or both kidneys and a kidney transplant. Once the kidneys are no longer able to function on their own, PKD sufferers will have to prepare themselves for dialysis and the possibility of a kidney transplant.