When one of your crucial organs ceases the way it is supposed to function it is like a crisis situation inside your body. If those organs happen to be your kidneys, you can understand how it can affect your health. Your kidneys are a part of your endocrine system which are responsible to remove wastes, toxins and excess fluid from the body through urine thereby regulating the body’s salt, potassium and acid levels. So, if your kidneys become dysfunctional it could lead to an overload of toxins in the body and rapidly increase changes of mortality. If medications and lifestyle changes don’t help, then a kidney transplant becomes unavoidable. Sometimes people are put on dialysis for a brief period of time before they get a suitable donor. However, dialysis can never be a lifelong solution so one has to opt for a transplant to lead a better quality of life despite having dysfunctional kidneys. Here are few facts you need to know if you or any of your loved one has to go for a kidney transplant.
1. A kidney transplant is given as the last resort
Remember, if your doctor has asked you to think about kidney transplant and prepare yourself for one, it might be that your kidney disease has reached a stage which is beyond any repair. A transplant is done when a person’s both kidneys fail to function to do its task of eliminating waste products from the body. Even if a person’s both kidneys fail, replacing it with one healthy kidney can do the job of removing waste and toxins from the body and maintaining the salt, potassium and electrolyte balance.
2. A kidney transplant is a major surgery
Not that you need us to remind about it but know that even though transplants have a high success rate in today’s medical world, it still involves and a lot of precision and care. This is why you need to get a surgeon who is good at it to ensure that the transplant is a success. The surgery involves placing a healthy kidney from a living or deceased donor into the recipient’s body where the artery and vein from the donor’s kidney are connected to those of the recipient. Next, the ureter of the donor’s kidney is connected to the recipient’s bladder to enable the flow of urine.
3. You might still need dialysis
After the transplant, the new kidney might not start working instantly and so you might still need rounds of dialysis. It takes some time for the new kidneys to adjust to the body and get accustomed to working naturally.
4. Selecting a donor is a task
It is not easy to get a kidney donor, while the waiting time in the hospital can run into years but if you have a friend or family member who is willing to donate a kidney the process becomes easier. However, a series of tests are done before one is eligible to become a donor. Some medical tests such as blood tests, heart tests, breathing tests and in some cases, even urine tests are carried out to ascertain the compatibility of the blood and tissue types. A donor should be healthy, devoid of any major health condition like diabetes. A donor can be either a living donor or a deceased person. However, experts say that a kidney from a living donor is more durable, starts functioning sooner in the recipient’s body and results in fewer complications post-surgery.
5. There are a lot of factors which decides if your transplant will be a success
Aftercare is crucial to ensure that your new kidney starts working and functions smoothly. Since our body’s immune system has a tendency to attack and destroy any foreign body, it might see the new kidney as a foreign invasion and start attacking it. The patient is required to take immunosuppressants to help the new kidney start functioning soon and be accepted by the body. After the transplant, a patient might also be needed to follow certain medication and strict dietary restrictions.
6. There are certain risks you may have to face post the surgery
Due to the intake of immunosuppressants, there is an increased risk of infection as the immune system becomes slightly less effective. The anti-rejection drugs may increase the risk of cancer such as skin cancer and cervical cancer. There are also chances of the body rejecting the new kidney. However, if it is an end-stage kidney disease kidney transplant stands to be the best option. Some of the benefits include a longer and better quality of life as compared to those who rely on dialysis as this is a permanent solution to the problem. The short-term and long-term advantages far outweigh the risks involved.