4 Things You Should Know If You Want A Kidney Transplant
Being told by a doctor that you need a transplant to treat a failing organ can leave you with the impression that the transplantation is a last resort, and hope, for treatment – not so with a kidney transplant. In fact, if it’s possible, a kidney transplant is an ideal method of treatment for those with kidney disease. Your kidney doctor will explain to you that if you meet the requirements for kidney transplantation, it may be the first choice of treatment rather than the last. Unfortunately, the waitlist for kidney transplant patients is constantly growing, making other kidney disease treatment options more common.
Know the numbers
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 20 million people, which is more than 10 percent of American adults, have chronic kidney disease. Roughly 600,000 are on dialysis and 100,000 are on the waiting list for a kidney transplant. Yet only 16,000 transplants are completed annually. If you’re preparing for, or have already had, a kidney transplant, check out the tips below.
It’s not a cure-all
Many patients who receive a kidney transplant get a new grasp on life with more energy and better overall health. It’s worth noting, however, that nearly 25% of kidney transplant patients will experience one rejection episode during the first year after the procedure, according to Stanford Medicine. Even when all goes smoothly, kidney recipients will need to take different medications (called immunosuppressants) every day to keep the organ healthy and functioning properly, avoid germs, and have frequent appointments at the transplant center.
Not everyone is eligible
Kidney transplantation is a major surgery, so kidney doctors will look at your entire health story to determine if you’re a good transplant candidate. Doctors will conduct a physical evaluation and ask that you go through a number of tests and examinations like blood samples, a chest x-ray, an EKG, a dental exam may be requested and for females a gynecological exam is often performed. The problems most likely to increase the risk of surgery are heart disease, cancer and infection, which make each of the requested tests so vital in determining if you’re a good candidate for a kidney transplant.
Talk about your need
If you need a kidney transplant, tell people. It may seem like an odd conversation topic, and at first it will be, but the goal is to get the word out about your need. Being added to the waiting list for kidney transplantation is not enough. There are far more names on the list than there are donors each year. Use social media, kidney disease blogs or any other resource you have to let people know you’re looking for your ideal kidney match. There are thousands of living donors who can help get you the kidney you need to live a happier, healthier life.
Medical research is constantly looking into new options that can rid the need for dialysis and make kidney disease treatment more manageable, but you need to do your part. If you’re living with kidney disease, stay as healthy as possible by not smoking, eating healthy, staying active, losing weight if needed, and showing up for each kidney disease treatment. Make choices that will keep your body ready when the opportunity for a kidney transplant arises.
If you or someone you know suffers from kidney disease, please contact us today to review your options.