Other Urinary Tract Disorders

Other possible disorders of the urinary tract include the following:

• Polycystic kidney disease. Polycystic kidney disease (PKD) is a genetic disorder in which numerous fluid-filled cysts (abnormal lumps or swellings) grow in the kidneys. These cysts can slowly displace much of the functional tissue of the kidneys, reducing kidney function and leading to kidney failure. People with PKD can have the disease for decades without developing symptoms. The most common symptoms are pain in the back and the sides (between the ribs and the hips) and headaches. People with PKD also may develop urinary tract infections (see page 286), hematuria (see page 291), cysts in other organs, high blood pressure (see page 217), and kidney stones (see page 289). Doctors use ultrasound scanning (see " Diagnostic Procedures," page 297) to look for cysts in the kidneys, especially in people who have a family history of


PKD. Although there is no cure for PKD, treatment can ease the symptoms 297

and prolong life. Urinary

Acquired cystic kidney disease. People who have a long history of kidney disease (especially if they require dialysis) are likely to develop cystic kidney disease similar to PKD (above). The cysts may bleed. People with acquired cystic kidney disease are twice as likely to develop renal cell cancer (see "Kidney Cancer," page 293).

IgA nephropathy. This kidney disorder is caused by deposits of the protein immunoglobulin A (IgA) inside the filtering mechanisms (glomeruli) within the kidney. The IgA protein blocks the normal filtering process, which causes blood and protein to remain in the urine and also causes swelling in the hands and feet. IgA nephropathy is a chronic glomerular disease (see page 290) that may progress over a period of 10 to 20 years.

Analgesic nephropathy. This kidney disease results from long-term use of analgesics (painkillers) and gradually leads to end-stage renal disease (see page 293). Single analgesics such as aspirin have not been found to cause kidney damage. However, medications that combine two or more painkillers (such as aspirin and acetaminophen) with caffeine or codeine are most likely to damage the kidneys. People who already have kidney disease must use caution when taking any painkiller.

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