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polycystic kidney disease

Polycystic kidney disease is an autosomal dominant genetic disease which is characterized by the development of abnormal sacs of fluid (cysts) in the kidneys and by high blood pressure. The cysts cause back and side pain, blood in the urine, and frequent kidney infections. People with PKD may also suffer from cysts in other organs such as the liver, intestines, brain, pancreas, ovaries, and spleen. If the brain is affected, the person may suffer an aneurysm. The disease may appear when the individual is in his or her late teens, but symptoms usually begin in middle age. Some people suffer from severe versions of this disease that ultimately cause kidney failure, but others have only mild versions that only cause minor problems; most people with PKD lead normal lives. There is no cure for this disease, but there are treatments to make afflicted persons more comfortable; the disease can be diagnosed in unborn babies via amniocentesis or chorionic villus sampling.

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