Things You Should Know About Polycystic Kidney Disease

ADVERTISEMENT

Overview

You may have never heard of Polycystic Kidney Disease, or maybe you or a loved one was recently diagnosed. Regardless, you need to know what this disease is. It’s straightforward, partially explained by the name alone. It is a Kidney Disease, as the name says, but what does Polycystic mean? Poly is a prefix derived from the Greek word for many. Cysts are membranous sacs of fluid growing in places they shouldn’t be.

So, if you put it all together, Polycystic Kidney Disease (PKD) is a disease that causes abnormal clusters of cysts to grow in the kidneys. These clusters can grow so large that they can eventually impair your kidney’s ability to function. The disease affects about 600,000 people in the United States. It’s a genetic disease, which means you are either born with it or you aren't. If you are born with it, it often won’t show itself until you’re in your 30’s or 40’s.

What does this all mean? Cysts grow on kidneys, and you won’t find out if you have it until you’re decades into life? What can be done? Can it be avoided? Read on to find out everything you need to know.

Did you know...

  • Do you know what the strongest muscle in your body is? No, it’s not your biceps or your thighs. It’s actually in your head. The masseter is a muscle in the jaw that is used when chewing. When all of the muscles of the jaw work together, they can exert a force as strong as 200 pounds on the molars. That’s some serious pressure.
  • Are you currently or often tired? As contradictory as it may sound, one of the best things you can do is exercise! It gives you more energy by improving your blood flow and increasing your oxygen throughout your body. You don't need to do much; a brisk walk is all it takes!
  • Starting to feel claustrophobic? The smells of apples may help keep your claustrophobic feelings at bay according to a 1995 study by Dr. Alan Hirsch. Green apples, specifically, helped people change their perception of their space. Maybe they thought of expansive apple orchards? Cucumbers and barbecue made the feelings worse.
  • A hearty laugh is good for the heart. Laughing can increase blood flow by 20%. Additionally, looking on the bright side can help you live longer. Studies have shown that a more optimistic outlook is linked to a healthier heart, lower blood pressure, and a lower risk for coronary artery disease.
  • Just saying the words "thank you" can measurably improve your mood. Researchers can actually measure happiness and changes in brain structure when people practiced regular "grateful thinking." This included things like writing thank you notes, writing gratitude journal entries, mindfully counting their blessings, and thanking friends. It may be helpful in overcoming depression!