In America today there seem to be a lot of preventable diseases: heart disease, diet-related diabetes, obesity, and some cancers. From Facebook posts to morning talk show hosts, everyone has an idea of what you cannot eat, drink, and do in order to avoid ailments that are debilitating and even life-threatening. But is polycystic kidney disease among that group? Can you really prevent getting PKD? We here at Kidney cars have heard a lot of stories of PKD patients who have kept symptoms at bay and lived full, active lives while dealing with PKD, but we’d like to set the record straight on the difference between a preventable disease and preventable symptoms.
An Inherited, Non-preventable Disease
Polycystic kidney disease is an inherited disease. Which means that patients can’t control whether or not they get the disease. In rare instances the DNA of an individual may also mutate and develop PKD, but it is unknown what causes this kind of mutation and it isn’t preventable. Sometimes hope catches hold of us and the idea that we might be able to avoid a disease, a disappointment, or a certain life-event through enough hard work or positive thinking, but the fact is, our human bodies are subject to problems and difficulties. The best hope we have isn’t in thinking we’ll avoid disease altogether, but that we can reduce the discomfort of symptoms through careful living.
While PKD may not be preventable, the symptoms that can cause discomfort and difficulty, ARE preventable. The cysts and fluid they hold can lead to other complications, including high blood pressure, diabetes, and kidney failure. These chances of suffering from these secondary complications can be reduced by following a careful combination of diet and activity. For someone with PKD the stipulation to avoid unhealthy fats and too much sugar goes from being a good idea to being a necessary action.
Following the suggestions of their doctor can help a PKD patient increase their level of comfort and add many, activity-filled years to their life. Because of their awareness of the disease, patients have the benefit of knowing that they should receive screenings for certain complications, such as aneurysms, and can become aware of them long before many other individuals know they even have a problem.
Positive Thinking in The Right Place
Positive thinking alone might not prevent disease, but it WILL increase a patient’s quality of life when a diagnosis is received. It’s tempting, especially when it’s unexpected, to experience anger, denial, and grief when a chronic and life-threatening disease is diagnosed. But when those feelings have passed, it’s important to look forward to the positives in the patient’s future.
Ask the important questions. What can you do to help yourself the most? What kinds of foods and activities should you increase? Which ones should you avoid? What new discoveries are being made in the studies on this disease?
If you or your loved one is struggling with this diagnosis look for where you have power to positively impact your life and routine. Get the best advice you can, prevent all the symptoms you can and learn what you can do to further the work of fighting PKD.