ADPKD Background

ADPKD: a progressive, inherited disease that can affect the whole body

ADPKD

Autosomal dominant polycystic kidney disease (ADPKD) causes cyst growth in the kidneys that gets worse as time goes on

ADPKD is a progressive disease, meaning it gets worse over time. As cysts grow, kidney function continues to get worse, eventually leading to kidney failure. Kidney failure can mean dialysis or transplant. All can lead to continuing health issues.

ADPKD is the leading inherited cause of end-stage renal disease (ESRD). It is also the fourth-leading cause of ESRD overall.

Your kidneys

What your kidneys do

Your kidneys clean your blood to remove waste, like creatinine, from your body. Kidneys are made up of about a million little filtering units called nephrons. Each nephron has a filter called a glomerulus. More than one glomerulus are called glomeruli. As blood passes through the glomeruli, they filter out the waste, which gets taken out of the body through urine.

ADPKD effects

ADPKD is a systemic disease

That means even though it affects the kidneys, it also affects other parts of the body.

urinary tract infection blood in urine kidney stones back or side pain pancreas liver blood vessels heart These can include: It can also cause:
urinary tract infection blood in urine kidney stones back or side pain pancreas liver blood vessels heart These can include: It can also cause:

Inheritance

ADPKD is an inherited disease

A parent with ADPKD has a 50% chance of passing it on to each child. ADPKD is inherited by male and female children equally.

Layer 1 parent 2 parent 1 (with ADPKD) child (male) child (male with ADPKD) child (female) child (female with ADPKD)
parent 2 parent 1 (with ADPKD) child (male) child (male with ADPKD) child (female) child (female with ADPKD)

Diagnosis

How does your doctor diagnose ADPKD?

Your doctor will determine if you have ADPKD based on:

  • Your family history of the disease
  • If your kidneys are bigger than they should be
  • The number of cysts you have in your kidneys
  • Other health issues you might have, like high blood pressure

Also, to see how many cysts you have and how big they are, your doctor might use an ultrasound, computed tomography (CT) scan, or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).