Thursday, November 23, 2006

Polycystic Kidneys

Polycystic Kidney Disease is a hereditary condition that results in the loss of kidney function at some point between the ages of 30 and 70. I'm not a doctor, but that's what I believe to be the case. If a parent has the disease, their offspring have a 50-50 chance of getting it. A few weeks ago my mother was diagnosed with it and I had to troop off to get tested myself.

Today I had an ultrasound scan of my abdomen and it showed I have Polycystic Kidney Disease, which is a bit rubbish. What does this mean for me? Not much really. I have to cut down on salt intake, get my blood pressure checked regularly and have my kidney function monitored periodically with blood tests. All I know is that in the next 10-40 years, my kidneys are going to pack in and I'm going to end up on dialysis and need a kidney transplant. There's no immediate urgency because, at the moment, I'm otherwise perfectly healthy.

The big downside, for me, is that I've passed the 50-50 curse on to my son. He'll have to wait until his twenties before his test.

On the positive side, scientists are always coming up with crazy new ways of mending people, so hopefully they'll invent a marvellous new cure which will only involve taking three pills or perhaps a course of light massage. Another positive, is that research into lifestyle factors that can slow down the progress of "PKD" show that my twenty years of vegetarianism may have been worthwhile.


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