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Polycystic Kidney Disease& Kidney Cysts

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PKD & Kidney Cysts

Polycystic kidney disease (PKD) is a group of disorders that result from the formation and progressive enlargement of cysts in the kidneys without dysplasia, usually leading to renal failure.

PKD Clinic: Polycystic Kidney Disease and Hypokalemia

2013-07-22 11:09

PKD Clinic: Polycystic Kidney Disease and HypokalemiaPolycystic Kidney Disease, one genetic disorder, has become the fourth leading cause of kidney failure in many countries like America. During its progression, more and more symptoms and discomforts may occur, so may hypokalemia. Why do some PKD patients have hypokalemia? How about the solution?


Hypokalemia is defined as serum potassium level concentration <3.5mEq/L. For people with Polycystic Kidney Disease, this problem may be due to the following conditions:

1. Low potassium intake: Different from people with other kidney diseases, PKD patients are usually recommended to take enough potassium. If not, hypokalemia happens easily.

2. A heavy loss of potassium: If PKD patients have severe headache, migraine or gastrointestinal disorders, they are more likely to suffer from nausea, vomiting or diarrhea, causing the loss of potassium.

3. Some certain medications: Long-term use of some medicines such as corticosteroid and diuretic is another cause of potassium loss, while some other medicines like insulin can lead to potassium shift from extracellular to intracellular so as to result in hypokalemia.

4. Poor control of diabetes and alkalosis: If PKD patients also have these two problems, they may have hypokalemia easily.


If your potassium is tested out 3.5mEq/L or lower, you may develop muscle weakness, cramps or pains, fatigue, mood swing, somnolence, dizziness or even coma, arrhythmia and so on.


- Eat more foods high in potassium: Many foods in our daily are consider as the most natural potassium supplement. Banana, kiwi fruit, oranges, mango, papaya, tomato and many other foods are good source of potassium. However, the amount should depend on patient’s specific condition.

- Take some medications: If diet modifications can’t normalize your potassium level successfully, some medications are needed like oral potassium chloride.

- Well control of PKD: To shrink all kidney cysts simultaneously, we suggest herbal medicines, which have an effect on prompting the reabsorption of sac fluid and inhibiting the secretion of cystic lining epithelial cells.


Even though hypokalemia is uncommon for PKD patients, it indeed happens to some patients. Generally, medicated treatment with a healthy diet can help deal with this problem smoothly. If you still haven’t developed such a diet plan or known what medicines are available for you, leave a message to kidney experts at pkdclinic or send email to, so they can give you suggestions timely.

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