Living With Autosomal Dominant Polycystic Kidney Disease

Living with ADPKD takes some getting used to. After all, an ADPKD diagnosis affects more than just your physical health—it affects your lifestyle and emotions, too. Initial shock, confusion, and fear can be overwhelming after being diagnosed. And you may be concerned about what’s ahead. But there are things you can do to help manage your ADPKD.

How ADPKD affects your health

It’s important to be aware of the potential health problems that ADPKD can cause. These health problems are often considered to be signs or symptoms of the disease, as they may be noticed before ADPKD is diagnosed.

Learning what to look for early may help you manage some of the following more common complications.

High blood pressure: Also known as hypertension, high blood pressure is one of the most common complications of ADPKD. It affects approximately 3 out of 4 people with the disease.

Cysts on other organs: Many people with ADPKD develop cysts in their liver. Usually these cysts do not cause any major problems. Although rare, cysts can also form on the pancreas.

Frequent urinary tract infections: Urinary tract infections can be infections in the kidneys, ureters, bladder, or urethra, but especially in the kidney cysts.

Inflammation of the colon: Also known as diverticulitis, inflammation of the colon occurs when a small pouch sticks out from the wall of the large intestine.

Brain aneurysm: An aneurysm is a blood-filled, balloon-like bulge that swells outward from a blood vessel in the brain. This condition affects 4% to 8% of people with ADPKD. If the aneurysm leaks, you could have severe headaches, problems moving your neck, speech problems, nausea, or vomiting, or you could even lose consciousness. If you or a loved one has ADPKD, call a nephrologist right away if there are any signs of brain aneurysm.