Polycystic Kidney Disease

Me & Dad, circa 1985
Me & Dad, circa 1985 – both with PKD!

Not many people have actually heard of Polycystic Kidney Disease – but oddly, it’s the most common genetically transmitted life threatening illness.  If you have it, there’s a 50% chance any individual child you have will inherit it (very slightly over 50% actually, because some people mutate it out of the blue).

If you have it, you’ll develop cysts in your kidneys (and often liver too) which gradually increase in size, disrupting the function until they won’t keep you alive any more, and at that point you need kidney dialysis or a transplant.  Without, you’ll die pretty soon.

We shouldn’t overlook the fact that we are fantastically lucky to live in the times we do.  At least there are treatments available, if not a cure.  A hundred years ago, we’d just be dropping like flies when the kidneys fail – and that still no doubt happens in places in the world without such excellent health care.

Some places to learn more about PKD:

The PKD charity are great – it was very much a toss up who to raise money for – I went for the Kidney Care Appeal because it’s local and their exercise research programme sounds great.  The PKD Charity’s website is a mine of information and their CEO Tess Harris is a tireless crusader for people with PKD.