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How Many Years Can A Person Live With One Kidney

Your Blood And Tissue Type Must Be Compatible With Your Recipients

Combined Liver-Kidney Transplant Makes Hospital History

Besides being healthy, living donors must have compatible blood and tissue types with the kidney recipient. The transplant team will perform tests to see if your blood and tissues are compatible with the kidney recipient. If they arent, our living donor program can also educate you about the paired donation program.

National Kidney And Urologic Diseases Information Clearinghouse

3 Information Way Phone: 18008915390 Fax: 7037384929 Internet: The National Kidney and Urologic Diseases Information Clearinghouse is a service of the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases . The NIDDK is part of the National Institutes of Health of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Established in 1987, the Clearinghouse provides information about diseases of the kidneys and urologic system to people with kidney and urologic disorders and to their families, health care professionals, and the public. The NKUDIC answers inquiries, develops and distributes publications, and works closely with professional and patient organizations and Government agencies to coordinate resources about kidney and urologic diseases. Publications produced by the Clearinghouse are carefully reviewed by both NIDDK scientists and outside experts. This publication was reviewed by Akinlolu Ojo, M.D., Ph.D., University of Michigan. This publication is not copyrighted. The Clearinghouse encourages users of this publication to duplicate and distribute as many copies as desired.

NIH Publication No. 075390 July 2007

Kidney & Urology Foundation of America104 West 40th Street, Suite 500 | New York NY 10018 | 212.629.977063 West Main Street, Suite G | Freehold, NJ 07728 | 732.866.44441.800.633.6628Kidney & Urology Foundation of America is a national, 501 c not-for-profit organization.©

What Can I Expect If I Have Kidney Disease

If you have kidney disease you can still live a productive home and work life and enjoy time with your family and friends. To have the best outcome possible, its important for you to become an active member of your treatment team.

Early detection and appropriate treatment are important in slowing the disease process, with the goal of preventing or delaying kidney failure. You will need to keep your medical appointments, take your medications as prescribed, stick to a healthy diet and monitor your blood pressure and blood sugar.

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Can Kidney Disease Be Prevented

Seeing your healthcare provider on a regular basis throughout your life is a good start for preventing kidney disease. About one in every three people in the United States is at risk for kidney disease. Identify and manage any risk factors for developing kidney disease.

  • Control your high blood pressure. Normal blood pressure is 120/80.
  • Control your blood sugar if you have diabetes.
  • Eat a healthy diet. Follow a low-fat, low-salt diet.
  • Dont smoke.
  • Be active for 30 minutes at least five days a week.
  • Maintain a healthy weight.
  • Take nonprescription pain relievers only as directed. Taking more than directed can damage your kidneys.

How Long Do Transplanted Organs Last

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If youre suffering from a failing organ, a transplant can restore your life. Transplant recipients grow up, go to school and graduate. They run marathons and run for office. They walk their daughters down the aisle and meet their first grandchildren. They eat meals they can finally enjoy.

Thats the great thing about transplantyou can go back to leading a pretty normal life, says Alejandro Diez, MD, a transplant nephrologist at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center specializing in kidney and pancreas transplantation. My best days are when you see a patient before and after their transplant.

And continued advancements in medicine and technology mean transplanted organs are lasting longer than everin many cases, several decades.

Just how long depends on the organ and hinges on a lot of factors, some of which patients can control. Here, well break down how long certain transplanted organs may last and what patients can do to keep themselves healthy and extend the longevity of their transplants.

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Treatment Of Kidney Disease Stage 3

Once you are diagnosed with stage 3 kidney disease, there is no way to treat the damage that has already been done to your kidneys. The following steps for your treatment have to do with treating the issues caused by decreased kidney functioning and preventing further damage.

These treatments include:

Your Weight May Affect Whether You Can Receive A Transplant

When you meet with your doctor or your transplant center, you may be advised to bring your body mass index down to 30 or less. Although BMI is flawed, and it is not an accurate measure of health for everyone, in this case the goal BMI would correspond to less than 203 pounds for a person who is 5 feet 9 inches tall, according to the National Institutes of Healths BMI calculator. The reasoning? A BMI of 30 or greater is a sign of obesity, which puts a person at greater risk for poor wound healing, infection, and kidney rejection, the National Kidney Foundation notes. For obese people, their surgical risk goes up and it can be technically harder to do a transplant on this group, adds Klassen.

Just know that the goal should be a healthy approach to weight loss and its important to meet with a registered dietitian nutritionist so that you arent missing out on key nutrients or doing anything extreme that puts your health in jeopardy, according to the National Kidney Foundation your doctor may discuss weight loss surgery with you, too.

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Reasons For Having One Kidney

Again, most people are born with two working kidneys.But sometimes, just one kidney works. And some people are born with only one kidney.

The reasons for this may vary and can include:

  • Renal agenesis a condition where someone is born with only one kidney.
  • Kidney dysplasia a condition where someone is born with two kidneys but only one of them works.
  • Kidney removal certain diseases may require you to actually have one of your kidneys removed.
  • Living-donor kidney transplant you can donate one of your kidneys to a person who needs a kidney transplant.

Wait Time For A Living Kidney Donor

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If you have a donor who is willing and able to give you a kidney, you can have your transplant as soon as both you and your donor are ready. Keep in mind that being ready for transplant sometimes depends on things that are out of your control, such as other health problems you or your donor may have. Talk to your transplant team to find out if there is anything you need to do to get ready for transplant.

If you do not have a donor, you may have to wait years for a transplant. The average waiting time for a deceased donor transplant is 3 to 5 years. You may look for a living donor while you wait for a deceased donor kidney and have your transplant using whichever kidney is available first.

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How Is Chronic Kidney Disease Treated

There is no cure for chronic kidney disease , but steps may be taken in early CKD to preserve a higher level of kidney function for a longer period of time. If you have reduced kidney function:

  • Make and keep your regular healthcare provider / nephrologist visits.
  • Keep your blood sugar under control .
  • Avoid taking painkillers and other medications that may make your kidney disease worse.
  • Keep your blood pressure levels under control.
  • Consult a dietitian regarding useful changes in diet. Dietary changes may include limiting protein, eating foods that reduce blood cholesterol levels, and limiting sodium and potassium intake.
  • Exercise/be active on most days of the week.
  • Stay at a healthy weight.

Protecting Your Single Kidney From Injury

If you have a single kidney, injuring it can be a big problem because there isnt another one to compensate. If the injury is severe and your kidney stops working completely, you would need dialysis or a kidney transplant to survive.

To avoid this, its very important to protect your single kidney from injury. Avoid contact sports that could lead to kidney injury. These include:

  • boxing
  • bungee jumping
  • skydiving

Over the long term, unless your kidney gets injured, loss of function in your single kidney is usually very mild and unnoticeable.

Most people with a single kidney dont need to follow a special diet, but like people with two kidneys, you should eat a healthy balanced diet.

Staying normally hydrated and drinking when thirsty is better than overhydration or dehydration.

If you have a single kidney because you had a transplant or if you have kidney disease, you may need to limit the amount of sodium, phosphorous, and protein in your diet. This is because your kidney cant remove them from your blood very well, so they build up.

You may also have to limit the amount of fluids you drink.

Talk to your healthcare provider about your nutritional needs and dietary restrictions.

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Questions To Ask Your Doctor About Stage 3 Kidney Disease

  • What do my lab values mean? The results of your regular bloodwork help your doctor monitor your kidney health and calculate your estimate glomerular filtration rate , which determines your CKD stage. Changes in your lab values may indicate a change in your kidney function.
  • What should I expect next with CKD? A stage 3 kidney disease diagnosis doesn’t necessarily mean that your condition will progress to stage 4 or stage 5. With lifestyle changes and a treatment plan from your doctor, it’s possible to slow the progression of CKD and preserve kidney function.
  • Am I doing everything I can to slow CKD progression? Your doctor may have additional guidance on what you can do to stay your healthiest, including eating well and managing your existing medicationsespecially if you are managing other health conditions like high blood pressure or diabetes. Looking after your overall health can help you protect your kidney health and feel your best.

What Treatments Are Available For Stage 5 Ckd

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If you have not already, you will need to see a nephrologist immediately to determine and start treatment, which will be either dialysis or a kidney transplant. In some instances, a person with ESRD will have both forms of treatment. If your kidneys have failed, you will need to be on dialysis for the rest of your life unless you have a kidney transplant.

  • Dialysis helps clean your blood by removing waste that your kidneys can no longer remove on their own, as well as helping to maintain healthy levels of potassium, sodium, bicarbonate, and other chemicals and control your blood pressure. There are two different types of dialysis: hemodialysis and peritoneal dialysis . You can receive dialysis in a dialysis center or at home.

With stage 5 CKD, you will eventually need a kidney transplant, or you will need to be on dialysis for the rest of your life.

  • A kidney transplant means you will receive a healthy kidney from a donor. Surgery will be performed to remove your failing kidney and transplant the new healthy kidney in its place. You will need to take anti-rejection medicines post-transplant to prevent your body from rejecting the healthy kidney. Most transplants are successful and last for many years some people, however, will need multiple transplants in their lifetime.

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What Causes Kidney Failure

The most common causes of kidney failure are diabetes and high blood pressure. Sometimes, though, kidney failure happens quickly due to an unforeseen cause.

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.

Can You Change Treatments For Kidney Failure

If you start on one type of treatment for kidney failure but feel you would like to try something else, you can speak to your healthcare professional about changing. For most people, it is often possible to change treatments. For example, if you choose hemodialysis, it doesn’t mean you can’t switch to peritoneal dialysis at a later date. Even if you choose to have a kidney transplant, you may need a period of dialysis until you can be transplanted with a new kidney. It is not uncommon for people who have had kidney failure for many years to have had more than one type of treatment in that time.

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Xenotransplantation: How Pigs Could One Day Save Kidney Patients Lives

For many people with kidney disease, the best treatment option is a kidney transplant to replace their nonfunctioning organ. But there are almost 100,000 people on the kidney transplant waiting list, and the average wait time is three to five years. Thats a long time to be on dialysis, and much too long for the sickest patients to wait.

Organs can come from deceased or living donors, but demand far exceeds availability, and we dont expect this trend to change anytime soon. So, what are patients to do?

As researchers scramble for options, one potential innovation is gaining momentum: xenotransplantation the transplanting of healthy animal organs, tissues, and cells into humans. For kidney failure patients, recent studies suggest that pigs organs might provide the best outcomes.

Kidney Donation May Not Affect Seniors’ Lifespan

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If your planning to make a live donation, consider that as you get older it’s more likely the health of your remaining kidney will decline. Your donation is likely to make a patient’s lifespan longer, but wondering if losing your organ will shorten yours is a legitimate concern.

At least one clinical study presents the possibility that live kidney donation for older adults does not affect their lifespan. However, the researchers acknowledge this subject requires more research to uncover the possibility of long-term consequences.

The eight-year study tracked 3,400 participants ages 55 and older, who made live kidney donations. The researchers also followed a demographic doppelganger who didn’t donate a kidney. The results showed no significant difference in death rates between the two groups.

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Regular Reviews And Monitoring

You’ll have regular contact with your care team to monitor your condition.

These appointments may involve:

  • talking about your symptoms such as whether they’re affecting your normal activities or are getting worse
  • a discussion about your medicine including whether you are experiencing any side effects
  • tests to monitor your kidney function and general health

It’s also a good opportunity to ask any questions you have or raise any other issues you’d like to discuss with your care team.

You may also want to help monitor your condition at home for example, by using a home blood pressure monitor.

Contact your GP or healthcare team if your symptoms are getting worse or you develop new symptoms.

The Financial Cost Of Donating An Organ May Be Higher Than You Think

Offering to donate a kidney or part of your liver as a living donor can help save a life, but the process may come with surprisingly high costs. Donating an organ could mean lost pay from time away from work, travel costs for surgery, and time off to recover and neither Medicare nor insurance covers these expenses, according to the National Kidney Foundation. Its estimated that living kidney donors in the United States bear out-of-pocket transplant-related costs of $5,000 on average, and up to $20,000, according to a past report.

But according to the National Kidney Foundation, a living donor wont have to pay for anything connected to the actual transplantation surgery. The National Living Donor Assistance Program and other similar programs may help cover some donation-related expenses. In addition, living donors may be eligible for sick leave and state disability under the federal Family Medical Leave Act, the National Kidney Foundation also notes, while federal employees, some state employees, and certain other workers may qualify for 30 days of paid leave.

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Can Seniors Donate A Kidney To Younger People

Seniors making a live donation most commonly donate their organs to a middle-aged or older adult they already know, although some donate anonymously. So, if you’re considering making a donation to a patient younger than you, yes, it is possible and not unusual.

If you have made the magnanimous choice to be an organ donor, an option you can choose at your local Department of Motor Vehicles when you renew your driver license, your kidneys enter a system that distributes organs anonymously and could end up as a life-saving gift to someone younger than you.

  • Dr. Knoll, et al. Clinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology: Is Kidney Transplantation for Everyone? The Example of the Older Dialysis Patient
  • Dr. Segev, et al. Clinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology: Living Kidney Donors Ages 70 and Older – Recipient and Donor Outcomes .
  • Graham, Judith. The Washington Post: Hospitals Reassess the Age Factor In Evaluating Candidates for Kidney Transplants .
  • University of Florida Health Podcasts: Kidney Donation Won’t Necessarily Shorten Senior’s Lives .


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