September is polycystic kidney disease (PKD) awareness month. With 70,000 people in the UK affected by PKD it’s important to raise awareness for this potentially serious condition.
Until recently, my knowledge around the seriousness of PKD was limited, but after completing the PKD Awareness Quiz from the Polycystic Kidney Disease Charity, as well as looking at all the amazing resources across their site, I have learnt so much. For example, did you know around 60,000 people in the UK are born with ADPKD?
Polycystic kidney disease is a genetic disorder that causes many fluid-filled cysts to grow in the kidneys; there are two types of PKD, autosomal recessive polycystic kidney disease (ARPKD) and autosomal dominant polycystic kidney disease (ADPKD). ADPKD is the most common form of PKD, caused by a genetic mutation inherited from your parents. It is not always guaranteed that someone will pass on PKD to their children, in fact there is a 1 in 2 chance that it will be passed on, and neither gender is more or less likely to be affected. Some effects of PKD include:
- Cysts in the kidneys
- Kidney failure
- High blood pressure/hypertension
- Back or abdominal pain
- Brain aneurysms
- Heart problems
- Cysts in the liver
Although, not everyone with PKD will develop all of these symptoms, some people may not develop any problems at all, and are unaware that they have the condition!
Despite the fact that PKD has been recognised since the 1500’s – the first recorded case of PKD was in 1586 with the Polish King Stefan Bathory!
PKD is currently incurable, but treatments can help reduce and lower the risk of complications.
The best treatment for PKD is a kidney transplant, and PKD sufferers can receive a transplant from anyone who is a match. If successful, and their body doesn’t reject the transplant, they will not redevelop PKD after a transplant.
Organ donation is crucial in being able to save thousands of people’s lives but is a difficult decision to make. Find out more about how you could be involved at https://www.organdonation.nhs.uk/