Five warm weather tips for people living with Autosomal Dominant Polycystic Kidney Disease

(BPT) - In the United States, there are an estimated 140,000 adults living with Autosomal Dominant Polycystic Kidney Disease, or ADPKD.

This is a rare, inherited, genetic disease that causes cysts to form in kidneys and progressively grow over time. As the cysts grow, a person’s kidney function gradually declines. This may eventually result in kidney failure requiring dialysis or a kidney transplant. In addition, complications from this disease can include high blood pressure, urinary tract infections, kidney stones, infected or bleeding cysts, abdominal pain or discomfort and chronic pain.

ADPKD is the most common form of polycystic kidney disease, making up about 90 percent of all cases. It is the leading cause of inherited kidney disease and fourth-leading cause overall of end-stage renal disease.

Increased risks related to warm weather

The kidneys play a unique role in protecting the body from dehydration. When warm weather is upon us, it is important to remember that higher temperatures can pose health risks for people with ADPKD.

As temperatures rise, so too does the risk of hospitalizations for people with kidney diseases, such as ADPKD, due to acute kidney injury — which can also be referred to as acute renal failure. One reason for this is that increased temperatures can make blood pressure rise. People with ADPKD are at an increased risk of having high blood pressure (hypertension) as compared to patients with other types of renal disease. This also puts them at risk for cardiovascular disease.

Five tips for managing ADPKD in warm weather

Meyeon Park, MD, MAS, Director of the UCSF Polycystic Kidney Disease Center of Excellence and Nephrologist, University of California, San Francisco, School of Medicine, recommends the following strategies for managing ADPKD in warmer weather.

"I recommend that people with kidney diseases, such as ADPKD, have an informed conversation with their healthcare team," says Meyeon Park, MD, MAS, Director of the UCSF Polycystic Kidney Disease Center of Excellence and Nephrologist, University of California, San Francisco, School of Medicine. "I offer five tips for effective management strategies that are easy to remember and help people take a more active role in maintaining their health, while enjoying the warmer weather."

  1. Talk to a healthcare provider to establish a baseline for daily healthy fluid intake, based on individual needs and likely exposure to hotter temperatures, to avoid fluid overload or dehydration.
  2. Keep cool during very hot days in air-conditioned spaces, if possible. It is important that patients with ADPKD limit their time outdoors and stay in the shade to avoid perspiring and increasing thirst. This recommendation should be tempered by concerns about COVID-19 and a priority in this unusual time is maintaining safety from exposure to this virus, which may be more easily transmitted in indoor environments.
  3. Exercise regularly to continue to maintain overall health and well-being, which can help improve kidney health. A daily walk in the evening, especially after dinner, is a great option.
  4. Eat a healthy and balanced diet in order to maintain a healthy weight. For patients with ADPKD, a diet low in salt and moderate in calories is recommended but patients should speak with their healthcare team about what is right for them.
  5. Adhere to management strategies as recommended by a patient’s healthcare provider and care team.

For more information and resources about ADPKD, visit www.PKDInfo.com.

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