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Symptoms and complications of ADPKD

Managing ADPKD Pain

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Find out about the different types of pain ADPKD can cause, and how this pain can be treated

Chronic pain (defined as persistent or longer-term pain) is common in people with autosomal dominant polycystic kidney disease (ADPKD). About 6 in 10 people who have been diagnosed with the condition have chronic pain. An enlarged kidney or liver pressing on other organs or tissues is often the likely cause of this pain.

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High Blood Pressure

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At least six in 10 adults and up to one third of children with ADPKD have high blood pressure (also called hypertension). It may be the first sign of ADPKD, and may be diagnosed when kidney function is normal.

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Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs)

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Urinary tract infections (UTIs) are common among people with ADPKD, and are a particular problem for women. These infections should always be taken seriously and fully investigated, because frequent UTIs may worsen kidney function in some people with ADPKD.

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Blood in the Urine

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Around one in two people with ADPKD will get blood in their urine (haematuria) at some time. But it is particularly common in people with large kidneys and high blood pressure.

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Kidney Stones

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Kidney stones are formed from crystals of substances found in urine, and can vary in size from tiny particles to large, smooth or irregular lumps. The stones are formed in the kidney, but can pass into the bladder and the ureters (the two tubes connecting the kidneys to the bladder).

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Aneurysms

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Around 4-8 in 100 people with ADPKD have a small aneurysm: a ‘ballooning out’ of a blood vessel due to weakness in the vessel wall. Aneurysms may occur in the blood vessels of the brain (when they are called intracranial aneurysms, ICA or ‘berry aneurysms’).

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Polycystic Liver Disease

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People with ADPKD can develop cysts in organs other than the kidney, most commonly the liver.

The number of liver cysts increases with age and with the severity of kidney cysts. Liver cysts are very rare in children and teenagers with ADPKD. But by the age of 30, one in twenty people with ADPKD have liver cysts, rising to nearly three quarters of people in their 60s.

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Diverticular Disease

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A diverticulum (plural: diverticula) is a small pouch that sticks out from the side of the colon (large bowel). Diverticula can affect anyone, especially older people. However, they seem to be more common in people with ADPKD than in people without kidney problems.

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