What Is Polycystic Kidney Disease?

Your kidney doctor, also known as a nephrologist, is an expert at the diagnosis and treatment of common kidney conditions, one of which is polycystic kidney disease, also known as PKD. The kidney doctors at Iowa Kidney Physicians provide comprehensive nephrology services to help you. They have several convenient office locations in Des Moines, IA.

How Your Kidney Doctor Can Help with PKD

PKD is an inherited disorder that leads to multiple fluid-filled cysts forming in your kidneys. PKD can cause your kidneys to change in shape and size, which can lead to:

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

Early stages of PKD may not produce any noticeable symptoms. As the cysts grow larger, you may experience:

  • Muscle pain and cramps
  • Changes in the amount of urination
  • Foot and ankle swelling
  • Decreased appetite leading to weight loss
  • Changes in sleeping patterns
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Problems with concentration
  • Dry, itchy skin
  • Fatigue and weakness
  • Shortness of breath and chest pain

When you have PKD, it’s important to practice a healthy lifestyle, which can help minimize damage to your kidneys. You should:

  • Maintain a healthy blood pressure of 120/80 or lower
  • Exercise regularly
  • Practice stress management techniques
  • Eat a healthy diet to maintain a healthy weight
  • Don’t smoke or use tobacco products

Also, remember to avoid any activities which can lead to injuries to your back or sides. A back or side injury could burst the cysts in your kidneys.

Your kidney doctor may prescribe medications to lessen the effects of PKD, including medications that will:

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

Talk with Your Kidney Doctor Today

To find out more about the causes 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.