Am I Eligible To Become A Kidney Donor
You need to undergo a comprehensive evaluation if you decide to donate one of your kidneys to a family member such as your spouse, children, siblings, and parents or to a friend or altruistically to a stranger. You are NOT eligible to become a kidney donor if the doctors assessment suggests that kidney donation is not safe for you.
What If I Was Asked To Donate But I Really Dont Want To
This situation really gets me riled up on behalf of the donor. No one should ever coerce or intimidate someone into donating a kidney, regardless of health or family situation. Thats a decision only a potential donor should make.
If someone is pressuring a donor, whether its a friend, family member, or even a doctor, I want to know that. We absolutely will not let anyone donate who is not 100 percent comfortable with the decision and who we arent 100 percent sure isnt being pressured to donate
To combat this ugly situation, all potential donors meet with a social worker as well as our living donor advocate, who is a psychologist that operates independently of the UT Southwestern transplant program. The advocate is another set of eyes and ears to help us ensure donors understand the short- and long-term risks and benefits. And if donors say yes to donating but change their minds, even on the day of surgery, thats OK.
Within 30 Days Of Your Surgery
Before your surgery, youll have an appointment for presurgical testing . The date, time, and location will be printed on the appointment reminder from your surgeons office. Its helpful to bring the following things to your PST appointment:
- A list of all the medications youre taking, including prescription and over-the-counter medications, patches, and creams.
- Results of any tests done outside of MSK, such as a cardiac stress test, echocardiogram, or carotid doppler study.
- The name and telephone number of your healthcare provider.
You can eat and take your usual medications the day of your appointment.
During your PST appointment, youll meet with a nurse practitioner . They work closely with anesthesiology staff . Your NP will review your medical and surgical history with you. You may have tests, such as an electrocardiogram to check your heart rhythm, a chest x-ray, blood tests, and any other tests needed to plan your care. Your NP may also recommend that you see other healthcare providers.
Your NP will talk with you about which medications you should take the morning of your surgery.
Identify your caregiver
Your caregiver plays an important role in your care. Before your surgery, you and your caregiver will learn about your surgery from your healthcare providers. After your surgery, your caregiver will take you home when youre discharged from the hospital. Theyll also help you care for yourself at home.
Don’t Miss: Seltzer Water And Kidney Stones
How Does Alcohol Harm The Kidneys
Your kidneys filter harmful substances from your blood. One of these substances is alcohol. Alcohol can cause changes in the function of the kidneys and make them less able to filter your blood. In addition to filtering blood, your kidneys do many other important jobs. One of these jobs is keeping the right amount of water in your body. Alcohol affects the ability of your kidneys to do this. When alcohol dehydrates the body, the drying effect can affect the normal function of cells and organs, including the kidneys.
Too much alcohol can also affect your blood pressure. People who drink too much are more likely to have high blood pressure. And medications for high blood pressure can be affected by alcohol. High blood pressure is a common cause of kidney disease. More than two drinks a day can increase your chance of having high blood pressure.
Chronic drinking can also cause liver disease. This adds to the kidney’s job. The rate of blood flow to your kidneys is usually kept at a certain level, so that your kidneys can filter your blood well. Liver disease impairs this important balancing act. In fact, most patients in the United States who have both liver disease and associated kidney dysfunction are alcohol dependent.
About Your Kidneys And Adrenal Glands
- Your kidneys are bean-shaped organs about the size of your fist , located near the middle of your back. You have 2, one on each side. Your kidneys filter your blood, regulate your hormone levels, and regulate your blood pressure.
- Lymph nodes are small oval or round glands found throughout your body. Lymph nodes make and store cells that fight infection. If cancer spreads, one of the first places it spreads to is usually the lymph nodes. Your healthcare provider may decide to remove some of your lymph nodes and check them for cancer cells. You have many lymph nodes, so your body wont miss these few.
- Your adrenal glands make hormones that help you cope with stress. You have 2 adrenal glands, 1 on top of each kidney .
- Your ureters are the tubes that connect your kidneys to your bladder.
- Your bladder stores your urine.
Figure 1. Your kidney
Figure 2. Your urinary system and adrenal glands
Don’t Miss: Is Cranberry Juice Good For Your Liver And Kidneys
One Kidney And Your Diet
The Kidney & Urology Foundation of America says that most people can live a perfectly healthy life with just one kidney 3. However, they recommend monitoring your kidney health and focusing on nutrition to prevent potential problems down the line. They may also recommend certain foods to avoid with one kidney. Diet suggestions include:
- Limiting your daily sodium intake to 2,000 milligrams per day. That’s slightly lower than the Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommended limit of 2,300 milligrams per day and much lower than the actual average sodium intake over 3,400 milligrams daily.& nbsp 45
- Avoiding high-protein diets. When you consume protein, your body breaks it down and creates a number of waste products that your kidney needs to filter. As such, a high protein intake can create a lot of work for your solitary kidney. Try eating small portions of protein from both plant and animal sources.
- Cutting down on alcohol. Kidneys have to filter out alcohol and also balance your bodys hydration levels after drinking 6. The National Kidney Foundation recommends not more than one to two drinks per day for men and one drink a day for women and adults over 65.& nbsp 26
- Watching your fat intake to prevent fat buildup in your kidneys and blood vessels. Opt for lean meats over fatty ones, and limit your intake of saturated and trans fats.
Read more:Vitamins to Improve Kidney Function
Common Kidney Donor Questions
Becoming a kidney donor is an important decision that requires careful thought. The process may seem scary, but it is a safe procedure performed by experienced surgeons. By understanding what to expect, more people may become kidney donors.
Reasons that someone may become a kidney donor include:
Yes. This is more common than receiving a kidney from a stranger and can be preferred. When you are genetically related, youre more likely to be a compatible kidney donor. If you are not a compatible match with your chosen recipient, you may consider orchestrating a paired exchange. Your recipients healthcare team can help you find others to pair with.
Becoming a living kidney donor requires a thorough health exam and being tested to check for potential compatibility between you and your recipient. If youre considering becoming a donor, contact a physician in your area. Talk with your intended recipients care team if you wish to donate to someone you know.
You May Like: Is Mio Bad For Your Kidneys
When To Call Your Healthcare Provider
- Your calves or thighs are swollen or tender.
- One of your legs is more swollen than the other.
- You feel short of breath.
- You cough up blood.
- You have a fever of 101 °F or higher.
- You have blood in your urine.
- You have questions or concerns.
Monday through Friday from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm, call your healthcare providers office.
After 5:00 pm, during the weekend, and on holidays, call . Ask to speak to the person on call for your healthcare provider.
What Other Tests Do I Need
The first tests will be blood and urine tests, as well as a series of blood pressures. These tests can be done at your clinic. Depending on the results of these tests, you may need further testing.
During the full evaluation you will have more blood tests, X-rays and a full exam. The exam will tell us whether you are at risk for kidney disease and can safely have surgery. If your exam shows that donation carries a risk, you cannot be a donor.
We will schedule the evaluation at UMMC. This allows you to get to know the donor care team.
Recommended Reading: What Laxative Is Safe With Kidney Disease
What About A Kidney Transplant
According to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Health, almost 200,000 people in the United States have a functioning transplanted kidney.
A kidney transplant is only done when you have no functioning kidneys. The risks of the procedure and side effects of the medications youll need for the rest of your life outweigh the small increase in function you get from a second kidney.
If your solitary kidney gets injured or sick and stops working, you might be eligible for a transplant.
No matter how many kidneys you started with, you only receive one kidney in a transplant. The transplanted kidney usually gets bigger and works harder over time. Eventually, your transplanted kidney will function almost as well as two kidneys.
Becoming A Living Kidney Donor
To be a living kidney donor, you must be of good physical and mental health. You would typically be between the ages of 18 and 60 years, and you must be free of any diseases that could affect the health of the person receiving the kidney. A specialist medical team will test to make sure you are a matching blood and tissue type. A close match is more likely with genetically related donors.
Recommended Reading: Kidney Pain High Blood Pressure
What Are The Benefits Of Using A Living Donor
The person with unhealthy kidneys does not need to wait for an organ from the transplant list. This can take five years or longer. Many people die before they receive an organ from the waiting list.
A living donor transplant takes the patient off the transplant waiting list. This shortens the wait for everyone else on the list.
The person with kidney disease may get a transplant before having to go on dialysis. Dialysis harms the patient’s health, restricts his or her diet and causes the family a lot of stress.
The kidney is placed in the patient as soon as it is removed from the living donor. The kidney goes without a blood supply for only a short time. This improves the chances that it will work the way it should. A kidney from someone who has died must be stored for several hours before it is transplanted.
The transplant can be done when both the donor and the patient are in the best physical and emotional health possible. If patients have surgery when they are very sick, the transplant is less likely to work.
Guidelines For Donating Blood
- One should eat regularly before blood donation which will help them to keep their blood sugar levels at stable levels. The food taken should be high in iron which includes meats and vegetables. This ensures one stays feeling well during and even after having the donation.
- Since almost half of the blood is made up of water, to ensure that a person does not get dizzy and faint. Loss of the fluids while donating blood leads to the dropping of the blood pressure. One needs to drink adequate water before to ensure the blood volume gets back to normal after.
- Avoiding alcohol consumption before and after donation as this may lead to issues with hydration levels and makes recovery to take long.
- A person should keep away from heavy exercises such as heavy lifting the day before going for the donation or after. One should keep the body at rest which gives it the opportunity to recover the fluids one loses during the donation. Though light exercises such as light walking are fine it should not be for long distances.
- One should have a full night’s sleep of 7 to 9 hours before going for the blood donation. It keeps the body more alert while donating at the same time minimizing the chances of keeping feeling well.
Don’t Miss: Can Seltzer Water Cause Kidney Stones
Is It Better For A Friend Or Loved One To Donate Rather Than A Stranger
Its not necessarily better, but sometimes its easier. Many of us would love to help a family member in need by donating a kidney. But we often see older adults who refuse to take a kidney from their willing son, daughter, or spouse. Theyd rather wait on the transplant list than put their family member at perceived risk.
Unfortunately, people often have to wait several years on the transplant list to get a kidney. Every year, 4,500 people die while on the kidney transplant waiting list, according to data from the Living Kidney Donor Network. One bad infection while a patient is on dialysis can cause an illness from which he or she wont recover.
Living kidney donation is an incredibly selective and safe process. Fewer than 4 percent of living donors from 2006 to 2008 experienced complications that required medical intervention or hospital admission six weeks after donating.
We simply dont allow people to donate their kidneys if we think their future health will be at risk, even if the recipient is someone they really love. In fact we do not meet the potential recipients to keep the entire evaluation process entirely separate from him or her. This is to avoid any conflict of interest which could impact the decision on the donor eligibility. My No. 1 focus in my role on our transplant nephrology team is the safety of the donor. We determine who can safely donate through our rigorous application process.
Will I Later Wish I Had Two Kidneys
The risks to your remaining kidney are kidney disease, injury or cancer.
We check your risk for kidney disease before approving you as a donor. In the future, if you did get kidney disease, having one kidney would not make a difference. Kidney disease usually attacks both kidneys at the same time.
There would be an advantage to having two kidneys if one kidney were badly injured in an accident or you developed kidney cancer.
Don’t Miss: Is Cranberry Juice Good For Your Liver And Kidneys
Two Months Off Work Helped Clare See That There Was More To Life Than Work Her Life Had
Has it made you look at life differently?
Yes. Yes, definitely. I think partly because Ive never had more than a week off at a time. Ive had two weeks sometimes, but thisll be nearly two months. And its made me realise how theres more to my life than just work. I felt I was my work to an extent, and I realise now Im not. There is life outside work. Im much more self-sufficient that I thought I was. People need me more than I thought they did, which is lovely.Yes, but its, I just sit, things that were important, arent so important now. I popped back into work. I had to. I didnt want to go, and immediately got my ears bent with the usual moaning about all the problems at work. I thought theres more important things in life than whinging on about your hours have been changed or something. Ive really made a difference to someones life and thats fantastic. And thats much more important than day to day niggles. Yes, so that has made a difference to my life. Yes. Which I didnt expect at all. I just expected to carry on. Its a new beginning really. This is the Clare post-transplant. So my life has been the depressed alcoholic, anorexic mess. To changing that which has been a long process, coping with that, still having self-doubt issues, still not really feeling perhaps right with myself, to the third stage which is just starting now that, Yes, Ive put things right. Ive done something positive and, from now on, I will go on in the third stage of my life.
What Can You Do
Always check with your healthcare provider to make sure it is safe for you to drink alcohol. Even if it is safe, it is important to drink in moderation. A good guideline is: no more than one to two drinks a day for men and one drink a day for women and people over 65.
If you would like more information, please contact us.
Recommended Reading: Is Grape Juice Good For Kidney Stones