A KidneyBuzz.com viewer said, "I am helping my dear friend who is 77-years-old on Dialysis for the last year. He is preparing for a Kidney Transplant. What should we do after the surgery? How does he prepare himself with his diet and mental state? How can I help? Thank you!"
Many Chronic Kidney Disease, especially Dialysis, patients ponder about life with a new functioning Kidney Transplant. Over 100,000 patients are currently listed on the Kidney Transplant Waiting List, and thousands more clamor to get tested for admission on the list every month (a new name is added to the Kidney Transplant Waiting List every 14 minutes). Only 16,000 Kidney Transplants are completed each year (30% to 40% come from Living Kidney Donors), and sadly approximately 13 people die each day while waiting for a life-saving Kidney Transplant. Hence, if you are one of the lucky patients to receive a Kidney Transplant you want to do everything you can to maintain the function of your kidney and remain off of the list as long as possible. Whether you are expecting a kidney in the future or you have already received a lifesaving gift, the following tips may help you to preserve the function of your kidney and maintain your health for as long as possible:
Emergency Medical Identification: Just because you have received a life-changing gift - a Kidney Transplant - does not mean that you should ignore the protection of your AV Fistula. Make sure that you continue to wear your Fistula Protector Wristband to preserve the function of your Dialysis Arm (click here to order/reorder). Also, consider carrying medical information or wearing another bracelet/tag noting that you are a Kidney Transplant patient and that you are "immunosuppressed" so mistakes do not compromise your Kidney Transplant.
Prescriptions: Do not miss any of your prescribed medication times. While this may seem straightforward, most do not realize that missing medications can have a cumulative (build-up) effect and disrupt the longevity of their Kidney Transplant. Your Transplant Team may be able to recommend a pharmacy that will send all your monthly medications directly to your home. According to Columbia University, "Generics are generally fine, but please check with the Transplant Team if your pharmacy wants to make substitutions."
Exercise: Exercise will enable a faster return to your routine activities, and help you maintain your overall good health. Exercise has been shown to improve muscle tone, as well as the functioning of your heart and lungs. It also helps reduce stress and maintain a healthy weight which also helps to preserve your Kidney Function. Note that exercise does not have to be intensive. Try walking 15 to 20 minutes every day, and gradually increase the time as tolerated. Do not resume strenuous exercise or lifting weights until you have been cleared to do so by the Transplant Team.
Driving: You should not drive for approximately two to four weeks after your Kidney Transplant because the initial doses of the medications prescribed can cause tremors, weakness, and blurred vision. These side effects, which are often worse in the first few months, make handling a car difficult and the last thing a Chronic Kidney Disease patient that has received a Kidney Transplant wants is to be in a car accident if avoidable. Therefore, KidneyBuzz.com would recommend that patients abstain from driving until cleared to do so by their Transplant Teams.
Travel: It is not recommended to travel within the first two to three months after transplant. International Travel is not recommended for the first six to twelve months to avoid germs and dangerous viruses. Thereafter, consider talking with your Healthcare Team before embarking on your next voyage.
Routine Self-Examination: You have to conduct self-check-ups in-between your regular scheduled doctor visits. Developing certain cancers is more common in Kidney Transplant recipients because they take immunosuppressive medications. Because of this, professionals recommend monthly breast and testicular self-examination. Nowadays, patients must be their own best advocates. Thus make sure that your routine medical check-ups include: PAP Smears (if applicable), Breast Exams (if applicable), Testicular Exams (if applicable), and Skin Cancer screening.
Psychological Health & Mental Stress: A serious illness such as Chronic Kidney Disease can cause a lot of personal anxiety and stress. Take a deep breath. Remember that you have a Kidney Transplant now, and while it is no "silver bullet," it does have many upsides. Do not stress about life after Dialysis and low Kidney Function. Your Transplant Team should be able to help you with: Job planning or rehabilitation, family stresses, parent-child conflicts, marital conflicts, changes in sexual functioning, and financial concerns (questions about Medicare, disability, and insurance). If you need specialized counseling, your Healthcare Team will help you find appropriate alternatives.
When you get your Kidney Transplant, what is the first thing that you would like to do? If you already have a Kidney Transplant, what has been your experience? Share your response with the over 50,000 KidneyBuzz.com Facebook Fan Page Friends (click here). If you are waiting on the list, consider working with the KidneyBuzz.com Social Media Team to share your story with a wider audience of people (click here).
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