Tag Archives: polycystic kidney disease

Categories Kidney Disease, Kundan Kidney Care Centre

Polycystic: Not Your Garden Variety Kidney Disease

Most of the kidney disease people experience is caused by factors such as high blood pressure or as a complication of conditions like diabetes. But Polycystic Kidney Disease (or PKD) is a type of kidney disease that is of a completely different order. This is a condition that results from a person’s own genetic makeup.

The disorder, as its name suggests, causes multiple cysts to form mainly in the kidneys, although they can appear in other parts of the body too. These cysts are filled with fluid, and often enlarge the kidneys, sometimes until they weigh several pounds. The cysts take up space normally available for filtering purposes, which can ultimately lead to kidney failure. They also create higher blood pressure, which can go on to do other damage to the kidneys as well.

Symptoms of PKD, apart from high blood pressure, can include back pain, blood in the urine, an increase in abdomen size, and kidney stones. Cysts may also be found in other parts of the body such as the liver or pancreas, and they may even cause aneurysms in the brain.

Diagnosis is often not made until this condition has progressed quite far, but if a family member is known to have PKD, a person’s own chances of having it are increased. Blood and urine tests often don’t detect the problem early either, but ultrasound imaging, at least, can detect cysts greater than a half inch in size. Genetic tests can discern whether a person has the gene for PKD.

There is no prevention or cure available for PKD, but detection of the gene does give a person a chance to take some control. Regulating diet and blood pressure can help, and there are treatments for results of PKD such as pain, kidney stones, and headaches. As with all other forms of kidney disease, a healthy diet and blood pressure control are some of the most helpful steps to take.

(Further reading: Mayo Clinic – Polycystic Kidney Disease; MedicineNet.com – What is Polycystic Kidney Disease?)

Categories Kidney Disease

Diabetes Drug and Polycystic Kidney Disease

It’s well known that there’s a relationship between kidney disease and diabetes, but usually that connection is thought of as a causal one. That is, people with diabetes are at higher risk of developing kidney disease, because high glucose levels and high blood pressure can damage the kidneys. But now researchers from Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis, along with fellow researchers from the Mayo Clinic, have uncovered a connection between the two that’s a bit more positive.

Polycystic Kidney Disease (PKD) is somewhat different from other types of kidney disease in that it is caused by genetic factors. These lead to the growth of cysts in the kidneys, gradually reducing kidney function. But the researchers have now discovered that pioglitazone, a substance that treats diabetes by making the body more sensitive to insulin, does other things as well. One of those is to inhibit what is called a “chloride channel.”

This made the researchers sit up and take notice, since excessive chloride and water, which helps kidney cysts expand and multiply, is a characteristic of PKD. Pioglitazone is already approved for use for other conditions, and has a “good safety profile,” according to researcher Bonnie L. Blazer-Yost. This drug may be just what is needed to treat PKD and stop cyst progression, because at the moment, there are few other options for treating PDK.

Blazer-Yost and her other colleagues have published their paper in the online medical journal, PPAR Research. They hope that human trials for the use of this drug on PKD can be conducted in the not-too-distant future. It could mean real hope for effective treatment for many who have no other realistic hope at the moment.

(Further reading: Medical News Today, November 15, 2010)

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