Autosomal dominant polycystic kidney disease (ADPKD) tends to be diagnosed in adults over 30 years of age because symptoms don't usually start before then. When making a diagnosis, your doctor will ask about your symptoms and your family's medical history. If your kidneys are enlarged, your GP may be able to feel them in your tummy (abdomen). Your doctor will measure your blood pressure to see whether it's higher than normal. They may also carry out other tests, such as:
Urine and blood tests
urine tests – to check for blood or protein in your urine
blood tests – so that the rate your kidneys are filtering your blood can be estimated
GFR blood test
An effective way of assessing how well your kidneys are working is to calculate your glomerular filtration rate (GFR). GFR is a measure of how many millilitres (ml) of blood your kidneys are able to filter out waste products from in a minute. A healthy pair of kidneys should be able to filter more than 90ml of blood per minute.
During an ultrasound, a wand-like device called a transducer is placed on your body. It emits inaudible sound waves that are reflected back to the transducer — like sonar. A computer translates the reflected sound waves into images of your kidneys.
Computerized tomography (CT) scan.
As you lie on a movable table, you're guided into a big doughnut-shaped device that projects very thin X-ray beams through your body. Your doctor is able to see cross-sectional images of your kidneys.
Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan.
As you lie inside a large cylinder, magnetic fields and radio waves generate cross-sectional views of your kidneys.
It's important to be aware that neither test is entirely accurate and may not always detect ADPKD, even if you have the condition.