What do actor George Lopez and NBA champion Alonzo Mourning have in common? Each of them has received a Kidney Transplant. There are more than 185,000 Chronic Kidney Disease patients in the United States who have had a Kidney Transplant. While 80% of the people on the waiting list are on Dialysis, many thousands of patients are hesitant to pursue a Kidney Transplant because of concerns about side effects and limited chance of success. However, the average patient life expectancy is higher among those who have received a Kidney Transplant, according to researchers. What's more, the longer a person is on Dialysis and has to wait for a transplant, the worse his/her short and long-term success. Hence, by addressing the following four (4) major concerns that deter patients from getting a Kidney Transplant, Chronic Kidney Disease and Dialysis patients may feel more comfortable with the idea of pursuing a kidney as a viable alternative to Dialysis Treatments.
1.) Cancer: Advances in medications, surgery techniques, and donor matching, make Kidney Transplantation safer than ever before. However, according to the National Kidney Foundation, "Kidney Transplant recipients are more likely than someone without a transplant to develop cancer." Although, getting a Kidney Transplant is a joyous thing, Chronic Kidney Disease patients must still be careful to help reduce their risk of cancer by: Avoiding sun exposure (use sunscreen year round), not smoking, getting tested for cancer regularly, knowing family history of cancers (if other family members have had cancer then you are more likely to get cancer yourself), asking your Kidney Transplant doctor for diet, exercise and screening recommendations, and taking all antiviral medications as ordered by your doctor.
2.) Finding A Match: While the Kidney Transplant Waiting List has an average wait time of 5 to 7 years (11 years in many major cities), Chronic Kidney Disease and Dialysis patients should know that there are two types of Kidney Donors: a Living Donor and a Non-Living (Deceased) Donor. Since the Kidney Transplant list is growing in size, if a patient does not have an active group of potential Living Kidney Donors, then they should share their story with others while waiting on the Kidney Transplant List. This may improve the chance of connecting with Altruistic (Selfless) Living Kidney Donors which is an unparalleled act of kindness that is on the rise. Feel free to click here to work with the KidneyBuzz.com Social Media Team and begin sharing your story with a wider audience.
3.) The lifespan of the Kidney Transplant: Many patients choose not to even try to get a Kidney Transplant because they are concerned that they may lose it. The average life span for a donated kidney is 10 to 15 years. When a transplant fails, a patient may opt for a second transplant or return to Dialysis. In some cases, the newly transplanted kidney begins working right away, while in others it may require Dialysis for a few days before it starts functioning normally. Medication will be prescribed to help ensure your body accepts the new kidney. Be sure to take medication as prescribed which will further assist the function of your kidney. If your Kidney Transplant fails, it can be hugely depressing, but you may still be eligible for another Kidney Transplant. Ultimately all you can do is your best. Remember, every day with your Kidney Transplant is a gift and another day you do not have to conduct Dialysis which can be more limiting for many Chronic Kidney Disease patients.
4.) Going back on Dialysis: Many Chronic Kidney Disease patients ask, "If my transplant fails, can I go back to Dialysis?" The simple answer is, "Yes." While the idea of beginning Dialysis again after becoming comfortable with life as a Kidney Transplant patient may be fear-inspiring, it is important for patients to consider the higher quality of life they may be able to achieve with the time they have a well-functioning kidney. Also, Chronic Kidney Disease patients can help retain Kidney Function by maintaining healthy habits and following their Healthcare Team's recommendations.
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