If you have signs and symptoms of polycystic kidney disease, you're likely to start by seeing your family doctor or a general practitioner. However, you may be referred to a doctor who specializes in kidney health (nephrologist).
Because appointments can be brief, and there's often a lot of ground to cover, it's a good idea to be well-prepared. Here's some information to help you get ready, and what to expect from your doctor.
What you can do
Use these tips to help prepare for your appointment and help your doctor better assess your condition:
- Write down symptoms you're experiencing, including any that may seem unrelated to the reason for which you scheduled the appointment.
- Make a list of all medications, vitamins and supplements that you're taking, including dosages.
- Ask a family member or friend to come along. Sometimes it can be difficult to remember all of the information provided to you during an appointment. Someone who accompanies you may remember something that you missed or forgot.
- Write down questions to ask your doctor.
For polycystic kidney disease, some basic questions to ask your doctor include:
- What's the most likely cause of my symptoms?
- Are there other possible causes for my symptoms?
- What kinds of tests do I need? Do these tests require any special preparation?
- Is this condition temporary or long lasting?
- What treatments are available, and which do you recommend?
- What types of side effects can I expect from treatment?
- I have other health conditions. How can I best manage them together?
- Do I need to follow any dietary restrictions? What about activity restrictions?
- Is there a generic alternative to the medicine you're prescribing for me?
- What's the appropriate level for my blood pressure? What can I do to help bring it down?
- Besides kidney cysts, what other complications might I have?
- Are there any brochures or other printed material that I can take with me? What websites do you recommend?
In addition to the questions that you've prepared, don't hesitate to ask other questions as they occur to you during your appointment.
What to expect from your doctor
Your doctor is likely to ask you a number of questions, such as:
June 14, 2014
- When did you first begin experiencing symptoms?
- Have your symptoms been continuous or occasional?
- Does anything seem to improve or worsen your symptoms?
- Does anyone in your family have a history of polycystic kidney disease or other kidney disease?
- Do you know your average blood pressure values?
- Has your kidney function been measured?
- Polycystic kidney disease. National Kidney and Urologic Diseases Information Clearinghouse. http://kidney.niddk.nih.gov/kudiseases/pubs/polycystic/. Accessed March 29, 2014.
- Ferri FF. Ferri's Clinical Advisor 2014: 5 Books in 1. Philadelphia, Pa.: Mosby Elsevier; 2014. https://www.clinicalkey.com. Accessed March 29, 2014.
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- Polycystic kidney disease. Kidney Foundation. http://www.kidney.org/atoz/content/polycystic.cfm . Accessed March 29, 2014.
- Taal MW, et al. Brenner & Rector's The Kidney. 9th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Saunders Elsevier; 2011. http://www.clinicalkey.com. Accessed March 29, 2014.
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- Devuyst O, et al. Osmoregulation, vasopressin, and cAMP signaling in autosomal dominant polycystic kidney disease. Current Opinion in Nephrology and Hypertension. 2013;22:459.
- Rossetti S, et al. Identification of gene mutations in autosomal dominant polycystic kidney disease through targeted resequencing. Journal of the American Society of Nephrology. 2012;23:915.
- Torres VE, et al. Strategies targeting cAMP signaling in the treatment of polycystic kidney disease. Journal of the American Society of Nephrology. 2014; 25:18.
- Torres VE, et al. Tolvaptan in patients with autosomal dominant polycystic kidney disease. New England Journal of Medicine. 2012;367:2407.
- Hogan MC, et al. Somatostatin analog therapy for severe polycystic liver disease: Results after 2 years. Nephrology Dialysis Transplantation. 2012;27:3532.
- Castle EP (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Phoenix /Scottsdale, Ariz. April 6, 2014.
- Heilman RL (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Phoenix/Scottsdale, Ariz. April 7, 2014.