Who Can Have A Kidney Transplant
Most people who need a kidney transplant are able to have one, regardless of their age, as long as:
- they’re well enough to withstand the effects of surgery
- the transplant has a relatively good chance of success
- the person is able to comply with the recommended treatments required after the transplant such as taking immunosuppressant medicine and attending regular follow-up appointments
You may also need to have an assessment with a psychologist or psychiatrist to make sure that a transplant is right for you.
Do We Use Two Kidneys
Most humans are born with two kidneys as the functional components of what is called the renal system, which also includes two ureters, a bladder and a urethra. The kidneys have many functions, including regulating blood pressure, producing red blood cells, activating vitamin D and producing some glucose.
What Are The First Signs Of Kidney Problems
Signs of Kidney Disease Youre more tired, have less energy or are having trouble concentrating. Youre having trouble sleeping. You have dry and itchy skin. You feel the need to urinate more often. You see blood in your urine. Your urine is foamy. Youre experiencing persistent puffiness around your eyes.
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How To Donate Your Kidney While Youre Alive
The first-ever kidney transplant was a kidney from a living donor in 1954.
They didn’t have deceased donations at the time, or immunosuppression medication, so the transplant happened between identical twins one with kidney disease and one without.
“Unfortunately we’re all not walking around with twins, but that’s how the field was born,” says Northwestern Medicine Transplant Surgeon Satish N. Nadig, MD, PhD. “Now, a living donor kidney transplant is one of the most common types of transplants we do today. It’s the gold standard of transplants and has the best outcomes. It really saves someone’s life immediately.”
Removing Part Of A Kidney
This operation is used for small kidney cancers that have not spread. Wherever possible, its used to treat stage 1 kidney cancer .
The surgeon removes the part of the kidney containing the cancer. Some of the kidney is left behind.
Doctors call this nephron sparing surgery. The nephron is the filtering unit of the kidney so you have some working kidney left after the operation.
Some people may not be able to have this surgery because of the cancers position in the kidney. If you’re worried about this, talk it through with your surgeon.
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What Is Kidney Failure
Kidney failure means one or both kidneys can no longer function well on their own. Sometimes, kidney failure is temporary and comes on quickly. Other times, it is a chronic condition that can get worse slowly over a long time.
Kidney failure may sound serious, and it is. But treatments such as dialysis and kidney transplant help many people with limited kidney function continue to live fulfilling lives.
What Causes Kidney Atrophy
- Blocked kidney artery blocks the main arteries that supply blood to the kidneys, which can be due to hardening of the arteries with fatty deposits or blood clots
- Blocked urinary tract blocks the normal flow of urine which leads to pressure on the kidneys and damages the nephrons
- Kidney stones an untreated kidney stone can cause a kidney blockage
- Long-lasting kidney infections such as pyelonephritis, polycystic kidney disease, and other chronic kidney diseases that can damage nephrons
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How Is Kidney Failure Diagnosed
Doctors use a variety of tests to measure kidney function and diagnose kidney failure. If your doctors suspect you may be at risk for kidney failure, they may recommend:
- Blood tests, which can show how well the kidneys are removing waste from the blood.
- Advanced imaging, which can show kidney abnormalities or obstructions .
- Urine tests, which measure the amount of urine or specific substances in the urine, such as protein or blood.
Why Do People Have A Single Kidney
There are three main reasons why a person may have only one kidney:
- A person may be born with only one kidney. This condition is called renal agenesis. Another condition, which is called kidney dysplasia, causes a person to be born with two kidneys, but only one of them works. Most people who are born without a kidney lead normal, healthy lives.
- A person may have had one kidney removed during an operation in order to treat an injury or a disease like cancer.
- A person may have donated one kidney to a person who needed a kidney transplant.
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Does A Kidney Grow Back After Donation
You should not incur any expenses for your medical care in the course of being a kidney donor, either, including the testing before the transplant, the surgery itself and the aftercare. However, you may experience financial loss due to missing work after the transplant or medical care. Your kidney will not grow back.
A Complicated Organ To Grow
The challenge of growing a kidney is that it is a very complicated organ you need hundreds of different types of cells for the kidney to work, and they have to come together in exactly the correct configuration, says Hammerman. Its a challenge no one has come close to meeting using embryonic stem cells, because the assembly process is so difficult we cant figure out how to direct it.
The genius of Hammerman and Rogers technique is that the pig embryonic kidney primordia they transplant into rats already know how to self-assemble. In addition, the researchers have discovered that once transplanted into the host, the primordia attract the blood vessels needed for the organ to function. What makes their patented approach truly unique, however, is their ability to produce a perfect kidney that excretes urine, something other researchers have not accomplished with equal success.
We achieve this by transplanting not only the embryonic kidney but also the part that differentiates into the ureter. Once that develops, we surgically connect the transplanted ureter with the hosts ureter, says Hammerman. All of these procedures are exceedingly painstaking and involve delicate microsurgery of barely visible organs.
Other research groups have reproduced this process with similar results but have not pursued perfecting the technique. Hammerman believes the reason is that, quite simply, what they are doing is tremendously difficult.
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What Causes Kidney Failure
When the kidneys lose function suddenly , its called acute kidney failure . This type of kidney failure is often temporary. Common causes of acute kidney failure can include:
- Autoimmune kidney diseases
- A urinary tract obstruction
- Uncontrolled systemic disease like heart or liver disease
Kidney failure usually doesnt happen overnight. Chronic kidney disease refers to a group of health conditions that affect how well your kidneys function over time. If left untreated, chronic kidney disease can lead to kidney failure.
The biggest causes of kidney failure from chronic kidney disease are:
- Diabetes: Unmanaged diabetes can lead to uncontrolled blood sugar levels. Consistently high blood sugar can damage the bodys organs, including the kidneys.
- High blood pressure: High blood pressure means blood travels through your bodys blood vessels with increased force. Over time, untreated high blood pressure levels can damage the kidneys tissue.
Other causes of chronic kidney disease include:
- Polycystic kidney disease, a hereditary condition where cysts grow inside your kidneys.
- Glomerular diseases, such as glomerulonephritis, which affect how well the kidneys can filter waste.
- Lupus and other autoimmune diseases that can affect multiple body systems.
What Is A Kidney Transplant
Kidneys are vital organs that filter blood to remove waste, extra fluid, and salt from the body. If they stop working, itâs called kidney failure. Someone with kidney failure must go on or get a kidney transplant.
A kidney transplant is an operation where doctors put a new kidney in the body of someone whose own kidneys no longer work. One healthy kidney will do the work of two failed kidneys.
Because people can survive with just one kidney, a living person can give a healthy kidney to someone with kidney failure. This is called being a donor. A kidney also can come from a donor who has recently died, but the wait for this kind of donated kidney can take a year or more.
Most kidney transplants are successful. People who have kidney transplants will take medicines for the rest of their lives to prevent the body from rejecting the kidney. Rejecting means that the bodyâs immune cells destroy the new kidney because they sense that itâs foreign.
But aside from that, many kids and teens who have kidney transplants go on to live normal, healthy lives after they recover from surgery.
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Frequently Asked Questions About Kidney Donation
Tens of thousands of people in the United States are waiting for new kidneys a much greater need than kidneys from deceased donors alone can meet. Living kidney donation helps make more kidneys available to more people in need.
Kidneys filter waste and excess fluids from the blood, eliminating them from the body in urine. Chronic kidney disease or failure is the gradual loss of kidney function, causing a dangerous amount of waste build-up in the body. Those who have kidney disease are often placed on the kidney transplant waiting list to become organ recipients.
A new kidney can extend a recipients life by at least 15 years. More than 101,000 Americans are currently on the transplant list, but only 17,000 receive a kidney annually. Sadly, 12 people die each day while waiting for a kidney. By donating a kidney, you can save a life. Read on and learn more in our FAQ about kidney donations.
Symptoms Of Kidney Pain
- A dull ache that’s usually constant
- Pain under your rib cage or in your belly
- Pain in your side usually only one side, but sometimes both hurt
- Sharp or severe pain that may come in waves
- Pain that can spread to your groin area or belly
Other symptoms that can happen with kidney pain
The symptoms of your kidney pain depend on its cause. With kidney pain you may also have:
- Blood in your urine
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Kidney Pain Vs Back Pain
It’s easy to confuse kidney pain for just back pain. How do you know the difference?
Location. It could be your kidney and not your back if you feel it higher on your back. Back problems usually affect your lower back.
Kidney pain is felt higher and deeper in your body than back pain. You may feel it in the upper half of your back, not the lower part. Unlike back discomfort, it’s felt on one or both sides, usually under your rib cage.
It’s often constant. It probably won’t go away when you shift your body. With your back, it might lessen when you adjust your position.
Signs that it’s your back
- Shoots down one leg
- Is more likely to be stabbing than dull and constant
- Gets worse or flares up when you do certain activities, like lifting a box or bending over
- When you rest or lie down, back pain may ease up
- Might also be muscle aches
Other symptoms to watch for
Depending on the cause of the pain, you could have other symptoms too. If you have these signs, contact your doctor. You could have a serious kidney problem:
Also, if you recently had a urinary tract infection , call your doctor. If you have blood in your urine, or if your pain is sudden and unbearable even without signs of blood in your pee, get medical care right away.
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How Is Kidney Failure Treated
Kidney failure treatment is determined by the cause and extent of the problem. Treating your chronic medical condition can delay the progression of kidney disease. If your kidneys start losing their function gradually, your doctor may use one or more methods to track your health. By watching you closely, your doctor can help you maintain your kidneys function as long as possible.
Your doctor may gauge your kidney function with:
- Routine blood tests
- Blood pressure checks
Because the kidneys serve such an important purpose, people in kidney failure need treatment to keep them alive. The main treatments for kidney failure are:
- Dialysis: This treatment helps the body filter the blood .
- In hemodialysis, a machine regularly cleans your blood for you. People often receive this kidney failure treatment at a hospital or dialysis clinic, 3 or 4 days each week.
- Peritoneal dialysis cleans the blood in a slightly different way using a dialysis solution and a catheter. Sometimes, people can do their treatment at home.
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How To Counter Podocyte Loss
Since lost podocytes cannot be replaced by proliferating podocytes, other mechanisms of compensation must be implemented in the glomerulus. The first cells proposed as being able to replace podocytes were bone marrow-derived cells due to their capacity to differentiate into a wide range of cell types. Initial studies suggested that bone marrow-derived cells contribute to renal epithelial regeneration following kidney injury . However, more recent studies have shown the incapacity of bone marrow-derived cells to differentiate into epithelial cells and argue that their beneficial effects in kidney diseases are limited to the secretion of regenerative and prosurvival paracrine factors .
Recently, Pippin et al. showed that renin lineage cells of the juxtaglomerular apparatus have regeneration capacity and were able to replace both PECs and podocytes on the glomerular tuft in a murine model of FSGS, suggesting that they may represent upstream mesenchymal progenitors. Renin lineage cells are located outside the glomerulus in the preglomerular vascular wall, which could be an advantage for escaping intraglomerular damage, but it is presently unclear how they would cross the parietal and/or glomerular basement membrane .
Sudden Loss Of Kidney Function: Do You Know What To Do In This Emergency
Some people suddenly lose their kidneys function. All at once, the kidneys stop doing their important tasks: eliminating excess fluid and salts and removing waste material. When the kidneys go on strike, dangerous levels of fluid, salts and wastes build up in the body. Without functioning kidneys, the persons life is at risk.
Acute kidney failure is the name of this problem. Most people with chronic kidney failure gradually lose the function of their kidneys. In people with acute kidney failure, though, kidney failure develops rapidly over a few hours or a few days. People at high risk are those who are already hospitalized, or who are critically ill from other causes and need intensive care.
Acute kidney failure requires immediate treatment. The good news is that acute kidney failure can often be reversed. The kidneys usually start working again within several weeks to months after the underlying cause has been treated. Dialysis is needed until then. If the kidneys fail completely, the only treatment options available are dialysis for the rest of your life or transplant.
Acute kidney failure almost always occurs in connection with another medical condition, infection or use of kidney-harming medicines. There are many possible causes of kidney damage. Many other serious conditions can increase your risk of acute kidney failure. Some of the situations that put you at risk of acute kidney failure include:
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Can You Live A Normal Life With Kidney Disease
Many people with chronic kidney disease are able to live long lives without being unduly affected by the condition. Although its not possible to repair damage that has already happened to your kidneys, CKD will not necessarily get worse. CKD only reaches an advanced stage in a small proportion of people.
In general, people with one healthy kidney dont need special diets. However, its always good to:
- have a healthy well-balanced diet
- reduce your salt intake
Dietary restrictions arent usually necessary for people who have received a transplanted kidney but its still worth following a healthy diet and watching your salt intake. However, you will probably be advised to avoid fresh grapefruit or grapefruit juice because they can interfere with certain medications. If you are advised by your kidney consultant to make specific changes to your diet, ask to be referred to the renal dietitian and follow their advice.
For more information about diet and kidney disease take a look at our dietary hints and tips.