If you are thinking of donating kidney, consider this information first

Our kidneys are the two most important organs of our body. Kidneys look like bean-like structures, just as equal to a first. They are placed below the rib cage, both on each side of the spine. 

The main role of the kidney in the human body is to remove the waste materials and the fluids present in an extra amount from the body. Both the kidneys filter about 45 gallons of blood with every passing day. It also makes the process of excretion possible by the removal of extra water in the body. The removal of acid produced by the cells is also done by the kidneys. 

Basically, kidneys maintain the balance of the body by maintaining the number of salts, waters, and minerals like sodium, calcium, and phosphorus present in the blood. 

They remove waste from the body that counts around 200 liters of fluid per day. The hormones released by the kidneys control the blood pressure, as well. Kidneys also play an important role in the production of red blood cells and vitamin D.

The kidneys are extremely important organs just like any other organ of the human body because they filter the waste materials from the body.

But have you thought, what if the kidneys stop working?

The straight answer to this is your body will start collapsing. When the kidneys stop working, waste materials and extra fluids start to build up in the body as they don't get a way out.  Which consequently leads to high blood pressure and kidney failure. The process of kidney failure is slow enough to detect the symptoms unless they are very progressive. Without treatment, kidney failure can result in death.

Do you know Hypertension is one of the leading causes of Kidney Failure!

Hypertension is the second leading cause of kidney diseases while the first remains diabetes.

Hypertension or uncontrolled high blood pressure can result in arteries around the kidneys to dwindle, weaken, or harden. 

It is an increase in the amount of force that blood puts on its blood vessels as it passes by the body. Because of hypertension, the blood vessels can get narrow and constricted, which also damages the kidney. One out of two adults in the US has the problem of hypertension. So if you have this issue, you must look for a proper treatment to avoid any sort of kidney diseases in the future.

If you are thinking of donating kidney, consider this information first

So, in the case of kidney failure, a person mainly has two options :

Dialysis is a process of filtering the waste, salt, and extra fluid from the blood in those people whose kidneys can not function naturally. Dialysis is needed when a person develops kidney failure. There are basically two types of dialysis :

  • Hemodialysis is done through an artificial kidney and is used to remove waste from the body.
  • Peritoneal dialysis is done when the blood is cleaned with the help of a plastic tube, inside the body.

Dialysis may perform the role of a healthy kidney but it does not cure the kidney's failure. After kidney failure, you may need dialysis treatment for the rest of your life and this is the reason why doctors prefer kidney transplant over dialysis. Life expectancy on the basis of dialysis differs from person to person as per their medical conditions. The average life expectancy of a person on dialysis is around 5-10 years.

  • Kidney Transplant

A kidney transplant is a surgical procedure where a healthy kidney is placed which has been donated either by a living person or a dead person, into a person who is having kidney failure.

The main reason why doctors prefer kidney transplant over dialysis is the percentage of renal function offered by kidney transplant is twice more than that of dialysis. By dialysis, a person can achieve 20% of renal function while kidney transplant can let them achieve 50% of renal function. Also, life expectancy usually improves after a kidney transplant. 

Why living formation over dead donation?

The best way of donating a kidney is living kidney donation which is incredibly safe for both the donor and the patient. Less than one percent of live kidney donors will themselves end up on dialysis, which is just as equal to the chance of dialysis for a person who has both healthy kidneys.

A kidney that is donated by a living donor quickly starts working after transplantation. But in the case of deceased donation, the kidney may not work immediately and the person may require dialysis until the kidney starts working.

What is living kidney donation?

If you are thinking of donating a kidney, then it's very essential to know some things before donating it. A living kidney donation is a situation when a living person donates a kidney to another person who is having kidney failure. The person who donates an organ is called  ' living donor '. Living donation is a safe and selective procedure.

The kidney is among the most common organs that a person donates. The living donor can either be a close relative or an unknown person. 

When the living donation is done by a family member, it is known as living related donation. Family members like sister, mother, daughter, or father can be a living related donor.

But if the donation of a kidney is done by an anonymous person or stranger, it's known as a non-directed donation.

Who can be a living kidney donor?

To donate a kidney, a person who is the donor must be in good physical and mental health.
The donor must be 28 years old or more than that.
Your both kidneys must be in a normal and healthy condition.
If you have any of the medical conditions listed below, you can not donate kidney :

  • High blood pressure
  • Diabetes
  • Cancer
  • HIV
  • Hepatitis
  • Any kind of acute infection.
  • Obesity
  • Urinary problems
  • Smoking

If your mental health is unstable, you can not be a kidney donor.

Also Read: Everything You Must Know About The Kidney Stones

Diabetes and Kidney Problems - The Link

A person who has diabetes, blood glucose, or blood sugar levels genuinely remains high. It can also damage your kidneys. Kidney damages that are caused by diabetes are known as nephropathy. People have diabetes, must have periodic screenings as diabetes can have a bad impact on kidneys. Diabetes is the most common cause of kidney failure in the US. By controlling your blood sugar and blood level, you can control both your diabetes and the chances of kidney failure. Glycomet, Janumet 50/100, and enalapril 5 mg are the medicines that can be used for the treatment of high blood sugar and thus can be very helpful in treating diabetes.

Medical Tests You Need To Get Before Donating A Kidney

  • Physical Exam

A living kidney donor must have to go through a physical examination in order to ensure that the person is healthy enough to donate a kidney.

  • Medical History

A person who is going to donate a kidney is asked to give a thorough account of their medical history which will include the details about recent illness and diseases as well as previous surgeries and diseases that the donor ever had. You may also be asked about your family's medical history. 

  • Radiological Testing

This testing is basically for the check-up of the kidney. It ensures doctors look at your kidney's condition including its blood vessel supply.

  • Chest X-Ray and EKG

These tests are done in order to ensure that the heart and lungs are working in a proper condition and if they are healthy.

  • Urine Testing 

In order to make sure that your kidneys are in a healthy condition, a 24-hour urine sample is collected. The donation will be canceled if your kidney does not appear normal in functioning.

  • Cancer Screening

Tests like colonoscopy, prostate exam, and skin cancer screening are done for the person who is going to donate the kidney. They are done to make sure if the person does not have any symptoms related to cancer. 

  • Gynecological Treatments

Donors who are females are asked to have gynecological tests and mammography.

Some blood sample tests are also required to check the compatibility of the donor and the receiver.

  • Tissues typing

This blood test is required to check if the white blood cells of the donor's tissues match with the white blood cells of the receiver's tissues. 

  • Cross-matching

In the cross-matching test, the blood cells of the donor and the receiver are mixed together, to check if the donor's organ is suitable for the receiver or not. If the cells of the receiver attack and kill the cells of the donor, then the result of the test comes positive, which implies that transplantation can not proceed. But if the result of the cross-match comes as negative, the donor's organ is compatible and eligible for transplant. 

  • Other Blood Tests

Some other blood tests are also done to make sure that the donor is free of any sort of communicable or viral disease. 

  • Immunological Tests

It involves the tests given below : 

In order to determine the blood group of the donor, the ABO test is done. In case if the blood group of the donor and the receiver do not match, paired exchange and plasmapheresis are performed to make the blood group compatible.
The family analysis is done when the blood sample of the entire family is tested to see who is most compatible with donating.

  • Psychological Evaluation 

It includes giving emotional support to the donor.
Analyzing if there is any family pressure on the donor.
If at any point the donor wants to decline the donation, the doctor must guide the donor in a way that saves family relations as well.

  • Intravenous photography test is also conducted in which an injection of dye into a vein of your arm. Then, the dye travels across your body. X-rays are further performed to recognize the structures of kidneys, veins, arteries, and another anatomy.

Long Term Effects of Kidney Donation

As a kidney donor, your risk of having any kind of kidney disease in your upcoming life is almost equal to that person who is having both his kidneys. There is an average of 25-35% loss for the donor to suffer from kidney loss after surgery. One thing you must know as a potential donor is that, be it any kind of journey, there are some risks related to it. 

There are many people who also suffer from anxiety or depression after the donation of a kidney. The donor also suffers from a significant amount of pain but it starts reducing as each day passes. The donor usually feels uncomfortable for a week post-surgery. 

The amount of time taken by the donor to recover mainly depends on the type of surgery performed on him. If the kidney is removed by the method of an open incision or by laparoscopy. Surgery by incision takes more time for the donor to recover as compared to the surgery performed by laparoscopy. Usually, it takes four to six weeks for the persona to recover after surgery.

Some of the risks that may occur after a kidney donation are :

  • Pain
  • Hernia
  • Pneumonia
  • Bowel obstruction
  • Blood clots
  • Nerve injury
  • Restlessness

Coming back to Normal!

Within two or three months after the donation, the person must get back to their normal lives doing their normal day to day activities. The doctors advise the donor to begin walking and exercising sooner after the surgery. By starting to walk just after your surgery, it will help in the prevention of blood clots, pneumonia, or muscle wasting. 

Tags: Cons of donating a kidney, Life after donating a kidney, Kidney donation requirements