A look at Polycystic Kidney Disease

By: Megan Lowry Email
By: Megan Lowry Email

EAU CLAIRE When a family member gets sick many times our first instinct is to step in help, but when a family is dealing with a genetic disease many times that's not an option.

One of the most common life-threatening genetic conditions is Polycystic Kidney Disease.

"There are a lot of things in my life that are perfect but then you have this one thing that affects you and you’re in a stalemate," Silas Cole said.

For twenty-two year old Silas twice a week time is kept through an IV.

“I’ve been on dialysis for 3 months now,” said Silas.

He was diagnosed with Polycystic Kidney Disease or PKD at age15. PKD is a genetic kidney disease that affects more than 600,000 people in the U.S.

The disease causes the kidneys to form cysts. “What happens is when the cysts start growing the normal kidney tissue dies off and you start losing kidney function because of that," Dr. Ibraheem Abbas with Mayo Clinic Health System said.

Doctors say a healthy kidney is about the size of a human fist but a kidney with PKD get a larger than a football and weigh more than 38 pounds.

“It’s a lifelong disease and can have multiple complications and affect multiple generations of a family,” said Abbas.

“It affects the way your family lives and it affects the way your family thinks,” Brenda Cole said.

Brenda has battled PKD for more than a decade. She has undergone two kidney transplants and hit the five year milestone since her last transplant this year.

“I did not know how sick I was until I had the transplant it changed my life,” said Brenda.

Brenda says her health is bitter sweet though as she waits for her son to get the same lifesaving gift.

“We have two kidneys we can survive with just one, and if I had a kidney I would give it but i don't,” Brenda said.

Silas starts the kidney transplant process this month but it could be years before his turn but he says however long or short the wait.

“I’m excited to see what i can do after this,” said Brenda.

Doctors say because PKD is a genetic disease if someone in your family is diagnosed it is important to get genetic screen to see if you too are at risk.

There is a fund set up with Associated Bank Called ‘The Silas Cole Benefit Fund’ to help with Silas with medical bills.


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