Information for Patients
Your family history includes health information about you and your close relatives. Families have many factors in common, including their genes, environment, and lifestyle. Looking at these factors can help you figure out whether you have a higher risk for certain health problems, such as heart disease, stroke, and cancer.
Having a family member with a disease raises your risk, but it does not mean that you will definitely get it. Knowing that you are at risk gives you a chance to reduce that risk by following a healthier lifestyle and getting tested as needed.
You can get started by talking to your relatives about their health. Draw a family tree and add the health information. Having copies of medical records and death certificates is also helpful.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
A cyst is a fluid-filled sac. You may get simple kidney cysts as you age; they are usually harmless. There are also some diseases which cause kidney cysts. One type is polycystic kidney disease (PKD). It runs in families. In PKD, many cysts grow in the kidneys. This can enlarge the kidneys and make them work poorly. About half of people with the most common type of PKD end up with kidney failure. PKD also causes cysts in other parts of the body, such as the liver.
Often, there are no symptoms at first. Later, symptoms include
- Pain in the back and lower sides
- Blood in the urine
Doctors diagnose PKD with imaging tests and family history. There is no cure. Treatments can help with symptoms and complications. They include medicines and lifestyle changes, and if there is kidney failure, dialysis or kidney transplants.
Acquired cystic kidney disease (ACKD) happens in people who have chronic kidney disease, especially if they are on dialysis. Unlike PKD, the kidneys are normal sized, and cysts do not form in other parts of the body. ACKD often has no symptoms. Usually, the cysts are harmless and do not need treatment. If they do cause complications, treatments include medicines, draining the cysts, or surgery.
NIH: National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases
Polycystic kidney disease Polycystic kidney disease is a disorder that affects the kidneys and other organs. Clusters of fluid-filled sacs, called cysts, develop in the kidneys and interfere with 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.Frequent complications of polycystic kidney disease include dangerously high blood pressure (hypertension), pain in the back or sides, blood in the urine (hematuria), recurrent urinary tract infections, kidney stones, and heart valve abnormalities. Additionally, people with polycystic kidney disease have an increased risk of an abnormal bulging (an aneurysm) in a large blood vessel called the aorta or in blood vessels at the base of the brain. Aneurysms can be life-threatening if they tear or rupture.The two major forms of polycystic kidney disease are distinguished by the usual age of onset and the pattern in which it is passed through families. The autosomal dominant form (sometimes called ADPKD) has signs and symptoms that typically begin in adulthood, although cysts in the kidney are often present from birth or childhood. Autosomal dominant polycystic kidney disease can be further divided into type 1 and type 2, depending on the genetic cause. The autosomal recessive form of polycystic kidney disease (sometimes called ARPKD) is much rarer and is often lethal early in life. The signs and symptoms of this condition are usually apparent at birth or in early infancy.