Did you know that the first successful Kidney Transplant took place in 1954 at the Peter Bent Brigham Hospital in Boston? Now, less than a century later, thousands of Kidney Transplants have taken place in the United States. Most Chronic Kidney Disease and Dialysis patients are well aware that transplantation has many advantages including eliminating the need for Dialysis Treatments altogether. Most patients who have been on Dialysis and then had a Kidney Transplant reported having more energy, a less restricted diet, and fewer complications. Kidney Transplant patients are also more likely to return to work after their transplant than those conducting Dialysis. However, Chronic Kidney Disease and Dialysis patients should know that Kidney Transplantation can also have some disadvantages and drawbacks.
Writer, Danielle Barron said, "Once the early threat of organ rejection is over, life with somebody else’s kidney or liver is not without its challenges." For instance, there are quite a lot of Anti-rejection (Immunosuppressant) medications that are necessary to prevent the transplanted kidney from failing. Immunosuppressants have a number of possible side-effects which include: High Blood Pressure and weight gain (obesity) - meaning an increased risk of Cardiovascular Disease, stroke, and heart attack.
Also, the post-transplant drugs may lead to an increased chance of having infections. In fact, doctors recommend that transplanted individuals limit their travel because Chronic Kidney Disease patients with Kidney Transplants are more likely to suffer common problems such as Travelers’ Diarrhea and respiratory infections following long flights. Also, as a general rule-of-thumb, patients are encouraged to only travel to states in the U.S. and countries abroad that have excellent medical services in case they are admitted to a local hospital in that area for an emergency.
After receiving a Kidney Transplant, Chronic Kidney Disease and Dialysis patients are at an elevated risk of contracting some forms of cancer. For instance, Kidney Transplant patients are 250 times more likely to get a skin cancer than the general population.
Pregnancy is also difficult for transplanted women since they have a higher risk of needing a Caesarean Section (C-Section) and having a premature birth and/or low birth weight. While male fertility isn’t generally affected, the Irish Times reported, "in recent months there have been warnings about one of the Immunosuppressant medications used post-transplant, Mycophenylate, and a potential risk with men taking it whose partners are pregnant."
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Mark Murphy of the Irish Kidney Association said about a Kidney Transplant, “It isn’t a cure...patients with Kidney Transplants still have End-Stage Kidney Disease." However, even with the above outlined challenges, patients who receive a Kidney Transplant typically live longer than those who stay on Dialysis (based on statistical averages). In some cases, patients who get a Kidney Transplant live an average of 10 to 15 years longer than if they stayed on Dialysis. A Living Donor Kidney functions, on average, 12 to 20 years, and a Deceased Donor Kidney from 8 to 12 years.
If you desire a Kidney Transplant, then do not simply wait on the list. While you may have to spend time on Dialysis, be sure to actively search for potential Altruistic Living Kidney Donors who may serve as your match. Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center noted, "Spending a long time on Dialysis does not ruin your chances of having a Kidney Transplant. But research shows that getting a transplant sooner rather than later is generally the best approach because of the health problems Dialysis can cause over time." Moreover, research has shown that spending a long time on Dialysis before transplantation may also compromise the life of the new Kidney Transplant.
Recommended Reading: Are Survival Rates for Dialysis Patients Considerably Improving?
Fortunately, altruistic Kidney Donation is increasing in the United States. Hence, you should share your need for a kidney far and wide to improve your chances of connecting with generous potential donors (family, friends or even kind-hearted strangers). If you need help effectively sharing your story, then click here and sign up for the Find A Kidney Donor Campaign so the KidneyBuzz.com Social Media Team can help.
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