Self-management

Coping and support

As with other chronic illnesses, having polycystic kidney disease might feel overwhelming. The support of friends and family is important in dealing with a chronic illness. In addition, a counselor, psychologist, psychiatrist or clergy member may be able to help.

You might also consider joining a support group. Although not for everyone, support groups can provide helpful information about treatments and coping. And being with people who understand what you're going through might make you feel less alone.

Ask your doctor about support groups in your community.

Prevention

If you have polycystic kidney disease and you're considering having children, a genetic counselor can help you assess your risk of passing the disease to your offspring.

Keeping your kidneys as healthy as possible may help prevent some of the complications of this disease. One of the most important ways you can protect your kidneys is by managing your blood pressure.

Here are some tips for keeping your blood pressure in check:

  • Take the blood pressure medications prescribed by your doctor as directed.
  • Eat a low-salt diet containing plenty of fruits, vegetables and whole grains.
  • Maintain a healthy weight. Ask your doctor what the right weight is for you.
  • If you smoke, quit.
  • Exercise regularly. Aim for at least 30 minutes of moderate physical activity most days of the week.
  • Limit alcohol use.
July 13, 2017
References
  1. Polycystic kidney disease. National Kidney and Urologic Diseases Information Clearinghouse. http://kidney.niddk.nih.gov/kudiseases/pubs/polycystic/. Accessed March 11, 2017.
  2. Chapman AB, et al. Course and treatment of autosomal dominant polycystic kidney disease. https://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed March 11, 2017.
  3. Polycystic kidney disease. American Kidney Fund. http://www.kidneyfund.org/kidney-disease/other-kidney-conditions/polycystic-kidney-disease.html?&gclid=Cj0KEQiA3Y7GBRD29f-7kYuO1-ABEiQAodAvwGAsS7ELsM8hNXkbCPt3pE8hsRp-kijSf4UAs-ZmPVgaArPQ8P8HAQ. Accessed March 11, 2017.
  4. Bennett WM, et al. Extrarenal manifestations of autosomal dominant polycystic kidney disease. https://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed March 11, 2017.
  5. Polycystic kidney disease. National Kidney Foundation. https://www.kidney.org/atoz/content/polycystic. Accessed March 11, 2017.
  6. Torres VE, et al. Diagnosis and screening for autosomal dominant polycystic kidney disease. https://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed March 11, 2017.
  7. Albert CM, et al. Autosomal dominant polycystic kidney disease: The changing face of clinical management. The Lancet. 2015;385:1993.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. Shoaf SE, et al. Pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics of Tolvaptan in autosomal dominat polycystic kidney disease: Phase 2 trials for dose selection in the pivotal phase 3 trial. The Journal of Clinical Pharmacology. In press. Accessed March 11, 2017.
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