What is Polycystic Kidney Disease?

How your kidney doctors in Des Moines, IA, can help if you have chronic kidney disease

Polycystic kidney disease, also known as PKD, is a common inherited disorder causing multiple fluid-filled cysts to form on your kidneys. Your kidney doctor, also known as a nephrologist, is an expert at treating kidney conditions like PKD.

The kidney doctors at Iowa Kidney Physicians offer a wide range of kidney services, including diagnosis and treatment of PKD. They have several convenient office locations in Des Moines, IA, to help you feel better.

When you have PKD, your kidneys can change shape and even become larger due to the cysts that form. PKD can potentially cause or contribute to:

  • Reduced kidney function
  • High blood pressure
  • Cysts in your liver
  • Blood vessel problems
  • Kidney failure

You may or may not experience any signs or symptoms of PKD until the cysts on your kidneys are large. Common signs and symptoms of PKD include:

  • Muscle cramping and pain
  • Changes in urination amount
  • Swelling in your feet and ankles
  • Weight loss due to decreased appetite
  • Sleeping problems
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Itchy, dry skin
  • Weakness and severe fatigue
  • Chest pain and shortness of breath

There are some steps you can take to help minimize kidney damage. You need to:

  • Maintain a healthy blood pressure of 120/80 or lower
  • Practice healthy lifestyle habits like regular exercise and stress reduction
  • Maintain a healthy weight
  • Avoid smoking or using tobacco products

You should also avoid activities that may cause trauma to your back and sides, because it may burst the cysts on your kidneys.

Medications are one of the first lines of treatment for PKD. The goals of medication therapy are to:

  • Prevent fluid build-up
  • Relieve swelling
  • Boost nutritional levels and prevent anemia
  • Manage cholesterol levels
  • Strengthen bones to prevent fractures

To discover more about the signs, symptoms, and treatment of polycystic kidney disease or PKD, call the kidney doctors at Iowa Kidney Physicians in Des Moines, IA. You can reach them in Methodist Plaza at (515) 336-6557, or in Riverpoint at (515) 243-3161, so call today.