Polycystic kidney is a congenital anomaly characterized by the formation of cysts in the kidney, while at the same time reducing its effectiveness. Polycystic kidney is inherited, with several members of the family sometimes having the disorder.
Kidney failure usually leads to an early death. There may be no symptoms early in the disease. For this reason, polycystic kidney disease may go undiagnosed in many people. One of the first signs is likely to be high blood pressure which can result when enlarged cysts compress blood vessels or when the cysts produce hormones the increase blood pressure. Other symptoms may include blood in the urine (hematuria), high blood pressure, kidney infection, or feeling of heaviness or pain in the back, sides, or abdomen. The disease is progressive, and a patient usually becomes uremic (having toxic waste products of protein digestion in the blood) within several years after the beginning of symptoms. There is no known treatment or cure for polycystic kidney disease. Laparoscopic surgery may be recommended for people who have severe pain from cysts larger than 5 cm in diameter. Laparoscopic surgery offers relief from pain but does not preserve kidney function. A low-protein diet that eliminates red meat and limits salt and alcohol is generally recommended. Due to hereditary nature of the disease, genetic counseling is suggested for those in a family in which one or more members have been diagnosed with the disorder.