Autosomal dominant polycystic kidney disease (ADPKD) is the most common form of polycystic kidney disease (PKD). It can cause a wide variety of complications, such as pain, high blood pressure, and kidney failure.
There’s no cure for ADPKD yet. Your doctor may prescribe medications, lifestyle changes, and other options to help relieve symptoms and prevent complications.
Read on to learn more about treatments and therapies for APDKD.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently approved the medication tolvaptan (Jynarque) to treat ADPKD.
This medication helps slow the growth of cysts that occur with ADPKD. This helps limit kidney damage and reduce the risk of kidney failure.
Your doctor may also prescribe other medications to help manage potential complications of ADPKD, such as:
- angiotensin converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors or angiotensin receptor blockers (ARBs) to lower your blood pressure
- antibiotics to treat urinary tract infections
- aspirin or acetaminophen to relieve pain
Always talk to your doctor before taking a new type of medication, including over-the-counter pain relievers. Some pain relievers and other medications may be harmful to your kidneys.
Your diet may have significant effects on your kidney health, as well as your blood pressure. Staying well hydrated makes a difference, too.
To help you develop eating habits that meet your health needs, your doctor may refer you to a dietitian. They can help you learn which foods to include in your diet and which to limit or avoid.
For example, they may encourage you to:
- limit salt and sodium in your diet to reduce your blood pressure
- eat small portions of high-quality protein to protect your kidneys
- reduce your consumption of trans and saturated fats for heart health
- avoid eating too much potassium or phosphorous
- limit how much alcohol you drink
It’s also important to drink enough fluids to stay well hydrated. Researchers are currently studying how hydration affects the condition.
If you develop certain complications of ADPKD, your doctor may recommend surgery as part of your treatment plan.
For example, they may prescribe surgery if you develop:
- cysts in your kidneys or other organs that cause severe pain that can’t be controlled with medication
- severe or recurrent diverticulitis, which may affect the wall of your colon
- a brain aneurysm, which may affect blood vessels in your brain
Surgery may help relieve certain complications of the condition. However, it won’t slow the overall development of ADPKD.
Your kidneys perform an essential function, by filtering waste products and excess water from your blood.
If you develop kidney failure, you’ll need dialysis or a kidney transplant to survive.
There are two main types of dialysis: hemodialysis and peritoneal dialysis. In hemodialysis, an external machine is used to filter your blood outside of your body. In peritoneal dialysis, your abdominal area is filled with dialysis fluid to filter your blood inside your body.
If you receive a kidney transplant, a surgeon will transplant a healthy donor kidney from another person into your body. It may take many years to find a good donor kidney match.
Certain complementary therapies may help lower your stress or pain levels. This may help reduce your blood pressure and promote better quality of life with ADPKD.
Activities that help with stress or pain management include:
- tai chi
Practicing an overall healthy lifestyle is also important for managing your blood pressure and promoting good kidney health. For example, try to get enough sleep, exercise regularly, and avoid smoking.
Always talk to your doctor before trying a new complementary therapy or making major changes to your lifestyle. They can help you learn if the therapy or changes are safe for you.
Never take herbal medicines or vitamin supplements without talking to your doctor to learn if they’re safe. Many herbal products and vitamin supplements may damage your kidneys.
Although ADPKD currently has no cure, your doctor may recommend treatments and lifestyle strategies to help manage the condition.
Let your doctor know if you develop any new symptoms or other changes in your health. They may recommend adjustments to your treatment plan.
Talk to your doctor to learn more about the potential benefits, risks, and costs of different treatment options.