More than 20,000 kidney transplant procedures were performed last year in the United States, according to data from the United Network for Organ Sharing. Getting a kidney transplant can — literally — change your life. But as exciting as it can be, a lot of people find themselves a little anxious about what to expect afterward.
As a leading nephrology practice with four locations in Houston and Cypress, Texas, Houston Kidney Specialists Center helps transplant recipients navigate the post-transplant experience with confidence, offering care and guidance based on each patient’s unique needs. Here’s what you should know.
Life after kidney transplant surgery
After getting a kidney transplant, one of the biggest changes is being able to leave dialysis behind. But there are other differences and benefits, too.
Understand immunosuppressant therapy
After an organ transplant, you’ll need to take special medicines to prevent your body from rejecting your new kidney. The risk of rejection never goes away, so you’ll need to take those medicines for the rest of your life. You might need other medications at first, too, to help prevent infection. Be sure to take all medicines at the same time every day, and call the office immediately if you have any questions or if you notice side effects from the medicines.
Make healthy dietary changes
Kidney disease limits a lot of what you can eat and drink. While many of those restrictions will be lifted after your surgery, you’ll still want to eat a healthy diet and drink plenty of water to maintain your overall health and kidney health, too. Limiting salt and fats will help prevent high blood pressure, and if you have diabetes, you’ll still need to manage your blood sugar.
Before a kidney transplant, you might have been tied to a pretty restrictive dialysis schedule. Once you’re recovered from your surgery, it’s only natural to want to get out there and enjoy the world. But before you hit the road, it’s really important to schedule a checkup visit to make sure you’re ready. Most people can travel 2-3 months after surgery, but you might need to wait a little longer before traveling overseas.
Get back to work
After your surgery, you’ll need to take some time off — typically 3-6 weeks — before going back to work. Once you return, you might need to alter your duties until you’re fully recovered. For instance, you shouldn’t lift anything that weighs more than 10 pounds. Our team will provide you with guidance to help you get back into your routine.
Be more active
Exercise is important no matter what, but if you’ve had a kidney transplant, it’s even more important. Our team can recommend activities to maximize your health without stressing your new kidney. Regular exercise can also help you control your blood pressure and maintain a healthy weight, which are two important factors for long-term health.
Schedule regular doctor visits
Seeing your family doctor and your kidney specialist on a regular basis is very important for quickly identifying any issues that might crop up. After your transplant surgery, your kidney doctor will let you know how often you should visit us for your checkups.
Get the support you need
Kidney transplant surgery can help you lead a healthier, more energetic life. The key to getting the most from your post-transplant experience is to work side-by-side with the team at Houston Kidney Specialists Center.
To learn more, book an appointment online or over the phone with Houston Kidney Specialists Center today.