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Definition of Polycystic Kidney Disease (PKD)

Polycystic kidneys have cysts that form in the kidneys. These cysts are filled with fluid and, depending on their size and how many there are, will change the size of the kidneys. In addition to changing the size of the kidney, the cysts can interfere with healthy kidney functions and after time lead to kidney failure. About half of the people diagnosed with polycystic kidney disease will experience end stage renal disease (ESRD) and will need dialysis or a kidney transplant.

PKD is the number four cause of kidney failure in Americans, and an estimated 600,000 people in the U.S. currently have it. You cannot catch PKD from a virus or by being exposed to another person who has it. Polycystic kidney disease is hereditary, and there are two forms of the disease that are passed down from a parent. The two forms are autosomal dominant polycystic kidney disease (ADPKD) and autosomal recessive polycystic kidney disease (ARPKD).

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