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Polycystic Kidney Disease

  • What is Polycystic Kidney Disease?

    Polycystic kidney disease (PKD) is an inherited condition characterised by the growth of cysts (sacs of fluid) on the kidneys. PKD can affect both kidneys, with cysts growing and multiplying until they constrict the healthy kidney tissues and affect kidney function. PKD can cause hypertension, kidney stones, frequent urinary tract infections and brain aneurysms (abnormal dilation of brain arteries).

    There are 2 types of PKD:

    • Adult polycystic kidney disease
    • Infantile polycystic kidney disease (rare)
  • Polycystic kidney disease is an inherited kidney disease, whereby the abnormal genes causing the disease are passed down from the parents to their offspring.

  • The symptoms of PKD include:

    • Blood in the urine
    • High blood pressure
    • Pain in the back and sides
    • Upper abdominal pain associated with liver and pancreatic cysts
    • Urinary tract infections
  • There is currently no cure for PKD, the treatment options available aim at managing your symptoms and the complications associated with this disease. Depending on your existing condition, your doctor will suggest the treatment that suits you best. These include:

    • High blood pressure control and management to delay the development of the disease, and prevent subsequent kidney damage
    • Increasing fluid intake to help dilute urine and therefore avoid the incidence of blood in the urine
    • Kidney dialysis or a kidney transplant if your kidneys fail to remove excess fluid and waste from the body
    • Management or surgical removal of brain aneurysms to avoid aneurysm rupture and bleeding if you suffer from brain aneurysms (balloon-like bulges in the walls of brain arteries)
    • Pain killers to ease the chronic side and back pain, which is a very common symptom of PKD
    • Surgery to drain cysts if they are causing severe pain or blocking other organs and blood vessels
    • Treatment of urinary tract infection using appropriate antibiotics
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