What Is Polycystic Kidney Disease?

Polycystic kidney disease is a condition in which clusters of cysts develop in the kidney, states Mayo Clinic. This inherited condition can cause adverse complications such as kidney failure and high blood pressure.

Symptoms of polycystic kidney disease include blood in the urine, headache, back or side pain, swollen abdomen and frequent urination, explains Mayo Clinic. Polycystic kidney disease complications include pregnant women developing preeclampsia, an aneurysm developing in the brain, cysts in the liver, heart valve issues and chronic pain. Ultrasound exams, computerized tomography scans and magnetic resonance imaging scans diagnose the size of kidney cysts and the amount of healthy kidney tissue.

Polycystic kidney disease treatments focus on the symptoms and complications in their early stages, according to Mayo Clinic. Instead of using medications and over-the-counter drugs to treat the high blood pressure and chronic pain related to polycystic kidney disease, other methods are typically employed. These include consuming a low-fat, low-sodium diet, coupled with exercise and not smoking.

Surgery procedures include clipping aneurysms to reduce the risk of bleeding and to drain cysts that obstruct organs and cause severe pain, notes Mayo Clinic. Dilution reduces blood in the urine and prevents clots from forming in the urinary tract. Blood pressure maintenance is one of the most important ways to protect a kidney affected by polycystic kidney disease.