What Causes Polycystic Kidney Disease?

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Q:
What causes polycystic kidney disease?

A:
Polycystic kidney disease is caused by abnormal genes. That means, in most cases, the disease runs in families. However, sometimes, gene mutations may happen on the patient alone, and neither parents has a copy of the mutated gene.

There are mainly two types of polycystic kidney diseases:

  • Autosomal dominant polycystic kidney disease (ADPKD):
    ADPKD is often called “adult PKD” because the symptoms did not appear until the patient reaches 30 years old. In this case, if one parent has the gene for the disease, the children may have 50 percent of chance of having ADPKD. This form accounts for about 90 percent of cases of polycystic kidney disease.
  • Autosomal recessive polycystic kidney disease (ARPKD):
    This type is less common than ADPKD. The signs and symptoms often appear shortly after birth. Sometimes, symptoms don’t appear until later in childhood or during adolescence. In this case, both parents must have abnormal genes to pass it to their children. If both parents carry a gene for this disorder, each child has a 25 percent chance of getting the disease.

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