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small kidney with cysts
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small kidney with cysts

Hello, could someone give me some sort of reason why one of my kidneys is half the size of the other and has cysts?  I dont drink, smoke, but have had medication for breast cancer and osteoporosis.  I am waiting to see a doctor but in the meantime would like to know whether or not this is a life threatening condition.
Thank you
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Avatar_f_tn
You can survive on one kidney, so if the other one is normal you should be fine.

People can live a long time on one kidney functioning 50% (or at least that is what I've been told because my remaining kidney is functioning at 45-50%). It isn't until your kidney is down to 20% functioning they do dialysis. And people live many years on dialysis.

So unless there is cancer in there chances are it is not life threatening. If it was life threatening they wouldn't make you wait to see a doctor they'd get you in right away.

Let us know how it goes.

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Avatar_m_tn
Thank you for your rsponse to my question.  May I ask what your situation was/is to see if it is similar to what I am on the verge of going through.

Thank you.
Hazel
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Avatar_f_tn
This is a bit of a long one. I have a unique situation. I had a duplex kidney (two kidney's joined together on one side - other kidney normal). The upper kidney got infected. I was sick as a dog. Antibiotics for over a year. Pain, nausea. Just utterly miserable. They decided to remove that upper kidney using laparoscopic surgery. They made a mistake during surgery and knicked an artery. I woke up with a giant incision in my abdomin (abdomen). They thought they had saved the lower half. Over the course of a year that other kidney died. They of course didn't believe me when I told them something was wrong. I just got the 'well you just had kidney surgery it is going to hurt' spiel.

I had no cause to think the other kidney wasn't functioning well. At my last doctors physical I asked if I could have my kidney tested just to make sure it was okay. Just because I only have one. I wasn't worried though. I figured it best to be careful and thorough. I was tired a lot but I figured that was from another condition I have. Probably is a bit from both conditions. Other than that I had/have no symptoms. I do not have high blood pressure, I am not diabetic, I only have slightly elevated trigiclerides which may be in part due to the kidney damage.

After the kidney tests showed damage I was sent for an ultrasound. I have two very small cysts on my kidneys that aren't doing any damage. They will repeat the ultrasound in a year to make sure they are not growing. I got sent to a nephrologist (specialized kidney doctor - probably who you are going to see) who reran all the tests and did a few more. Things like I had to collect my pee for 24 hours. The results were the same. Stage 3 kidney disease which means my kidney's are operating at about 45-50%. It is the high end of Stage 3 luckily. I have been given no clear answer at to why this has happened. They simply just don't know.

I am very lucky they caught it. They usually don't catch it until stage 4 or 5 and by that time things are pretty bad and the prognosis isn't as good. One sign of trouble is swelling and retaining water, especially in the feet. Swollen ankles. Itchy all over is another because the kidneys can clear the toxins accumulate in the skin. High blood pressure and diabetes are huge risk factors.

I have had to overhall my diet. Eliminate high potasium foods such as tomatoes, potatoes, and spinach among other tasty things. And to give up salt. It is a lot, and I am struggling with the whole thing. I have a few other health conditions but this is the first one that could potentially kill me. I am 37 years old. That is pretty early to be having these kinds of issues.

If you do have reduced function there is a lot you can do to help yourself. Diet and exercise are the two most important ones.

I am sorry you are having to go through this. It is really tough not knowing. It gets easier once you know where you are at.

Do let us know how the appointment goes.
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Avatar_m_tn
Hi again, thankyou for sharing your experience, you have been through a lot too.  You have given me some positiveness from your experience and I do appreciate that and I hope things work out well for you, you are too young for all these problems!.  

I didnt realise that they could take the upper part of the kidney and leave the lower - guess I have a lot of reading up to do on this.

I will let you know what happens after I see a doctor, I am going with my husband who has a chronic kidney disease, to see his doctor on Wednesday so we are going to let them know about me, they have all my notes as I am currently being treated for breast cancer there, so hopefully they will look me up on the computer and save time.

Take care.
Hazel
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Avatar_m_tn
Sorry just reread your post saying that you had a duplex kidney, I thought that they had removed one half of one.
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Avatar_f_tn
No problem,

I am sorry you are having to go through this in addition to Breast Cancer. You have enough on your plate right now.
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