Polycystic kidney disease
refers to a group of inherited kidney disorders characterized by the presence of multiple cysts in both kidneys. Normal kidney tissue is replaced by fluid-filled sacs that interfere with the their ability to filter waste products from the blood. The growth of cysts causes the kidneys to become enlarged and can lead to kidney failure. Cysts may also develop in other organs, particularly the liver. However, signs and symptom severity can vary greatly from person to person. Treatment is tailored to the individual based upon their signs and symptoms.
The two major forms of polycystic kidney disease are distinguished by the usual age of onset and their pattern of inheritance:
(1) Autosomal dominant polycystic kidney disease (ADPKD) is the most common form that usually causes symptoms between the ages of 30 and 40; but they can begin earlier, even in childhood. ADPKD can be further divided into type 1 and type 2, depending on the underlying genetic cause.
(2) Autosomal recessive polycystic kidney disease (ARPKD) is a rare form that usually causes symptoms in infancy and early childhood and is often lethal early in life. Some people with ARPKD do not develop symptoms until later in childhood or even adulthood. Source: Genetic and Rare Diseases Information Center (GARD), supported by ORDR-NCATS and NHGRI.