Polycsytic Kidney Disease

Ask the Raffles Medical Group Experts


My father has been diagnosed with polycystic kidneys disease. His kidneys are currently functioning at around 30% of what a pair of normal kidneys should.

His doctor explained that the problem is genetic and cannot be cured. Is there really nothing that medical science can do? Will adapting certain dietary habits help? What are our financial options if my father suffers from kidney failure? Are there any related physical problems we should be aware of? For example, his legs are getting weaker, as he had sprained both his ankles recently.


Ans: Polycystic kidney disease (PKD) is a hereditary disease. It is a multisystemic and progressive disorder characterised by formation and enlargement of renal cysts in the kidneys and other organs (eg, liver, pancreas, spleen).

No specific medication is available for this disease. Given your father’s kidney functioning level is still at 30%, there is no urgent need for dialysis at this stage. However, the patient should be seen and followed up by a nephrologist. There are medicines to help control blood pressure and to reduce protein in the urine, measures which will help delay progression of this chronic kidney disease. Careful monitoring of the blood pressure, kidney function and infection is paramount. Ultrasound of the kidneys should also be performed every 1-2 years.

Triggers for simple back pain include: Financial issues will depend on the stage of this chronic kidney disease and whether or not dialysis or renal transplantation will be required. Usually the dialysis will be initiated when kidney function is below 15%.

Although a low-salt diet is recommended when patient has hypertension or renal failure, no other special diet reportedly is of significant benefit. As mentioned before, this is a multisystemic disease for which the cysts can be present or developed in other organs. Moreover, some patients may have cerebral aneurysms, colonic diverticula, mitral valve prolapse, kidney stones or metabolic abnormalities. However, sprained ankles or weakness in the legs may not be related to PKD.