Kidney cysts are round pouches of fluid on or within the kidneys. Up to half of all people over the age of 50 have one or more cysts on their kidneys, and most won't experience symptoms or health problems as a result of these "simple cysts." They may only be discovered incidentally when a person undergoes imaging for another reason. Some people with kidney cysts have a condition called polycystic kidney disease, which causes multiple cysts on the kidneys. Individuals with polycystic kidney disease can develop high blood pressure or kidney problems, and some will progress to kidney failure. However, most kidney cysts are non-cancerous and do not have a tendency to become malignant.
Scientists and medical professionals are working to better understand the causes of kidney cysts. One theory suggests the culprit could be a weak spot on the kidney. A pouch forms and fills with fluid (a diverticulum), then detaches as a cyst. Kidney cysts become more common with age.
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