The Kidney Transplant Side Effect That No One Tells Chronic Kidney Disease Patients About

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Poor sleep quality and daytime sleepiness are common in Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD) patients after receiving a Kidney Transplant. However, it is often just disregarded by CKD patients who have received a Kidney Transplant. Although some may see sleep disturbance as a small and relatively inconsequential side effect of having a new life changing Kidney Transplant, recent findings reveal a very high prevalence of insomnia post-transplant which could cause major health complications and even increase risk of death.

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A study published in Biomedcentral Nephrology Journal found that the most frequent sleep problem among people with a Kidney Transplant was difficulty staying asleep (49.4%), followed by problems falling asleep (32.1%). 62.9% of transplant patients had to wake up to urinate which was the most common sleep disturbance, and caused 27% of transplant recipients to have reduced daytime functionality. 

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Another study first reported by Science Nordic and later published in the Journal of Sleep Research, further confirms that insomnia is linked with a wide range of health problems including higher risk for anxiety, depression, fibromyalgia (chronic widespread pain), whiplash, rheumatoid arthritis, arthrosis

(an age-related cartilage degeneration condition), severe headache, asthma, heart attack and osteoporosis. Researchers also found a less strong association between insomnia and obesity, hypertension and stroke. 

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 "The link to heart attacks is particularly interesting," Børge Sivertsen, of the Norwegian Institute of Public Health suggested. "One possible explanation is that sleep problems raise the stress response of the body, which has a negative impact on the function of the heart." What is clear, however, is that insomnia is closely connected with an increased risk of premature death. 

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If you are currently suffering from insomnia, encourages you to discuss with your healthcare team various behavioral treatment options such as stimulus control therapy, relaxation therapy, and cognitive behavioral therapy. It is difficult to know how long non-pharmacologic therapy should be tried before attempting other measures, but this may ultimately depend somewhat on your preferences, and the severity of your sleep disturbance. 

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