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Polycystic Kidney Disease

Overview :

A healthy kidney is about the same size as a human fist. PKD cysts, which can be as small as the head of a pin or as large as a grapefruit, can expand the kidneys until each one is bigger than a football and weighs as much as 38lb (17 kg). There are two types of PKD: infantile PKD, which generally shows symptoms prior to birth; and adult onset PKD. Individuals affected with infantile PKD are often stillborn. Among the liveborn individuals affected with infantile PKD, very few of these children survive to the age of two. The adult onset form of PKD is much more common. The time and degree of symptom onset in the adult form of PKD can vary widely, even within a single family with two or more affected individuals. Symptoms of this form of PKD usually start to appear between the ages of 20 and 50. Organ deterioration progresses more slowly in adult onset PKD than it does in the infantile form; but, if left untreated, adult onset PKD also eventually leads to kidney failure.

One of the most common of all life-threatening genetic diseases, PKD affects more than 60,000 Americans. Over 12.5 million people worldwide are affected with PKD. Approximately one in every 400 to 1,000 people is affected with ADPKD. Another one in 10,000 affected with ARPKD. PKD is observed in equal numbers in both males and females. PKD is also observed with equal frequency among ethnic groups.

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