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How can I Stay Healthy After a Kidney Transplant?

Article Details
  • Written By: M.R. Anglin
  • Edited By: Kristen Osborne
  • Last Modified Date: 15 September 2018
  • Copyright Protected:
    2003-2018
    Conjecture Corporation
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A kidney transplant can help to improve and prolong a person’s life. It is important, however, that a person properly takes care of himself after a kidney transplant. In order to remain healthy, a person should eat properly and keep up an exercise regimen. He should also take all his prescribed medications at the appropriate time and in the correct dosages. Proper hygiene and following a vaccination schedule can also help keep infections at bay.

After a kidney transplant, a patient often has several follow-up appointments scheduled, and he should be sure to go to all of them. Any tests, screenings, and procedures also should be undertaken on time. These follow-ups and screenings help to ensure the transplanted kidney is functioning correctly and help doctors to recognize any potential problems. If problems do arise, the doctors should know how best to treat them.

It may also be necessary to keep up with an appropriate vaccination regimen after a kidney transplant. These vaccines can help to keep certain diseases at bay. A live vaccination, such as the nasal flu vaccine, should not be taken by a transplant patient, however. Like many other travelers, a person with a transplant may need to get vaccinated before visiting a foreign country, and so he should notify his doctor before taking any vaccines.

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Keeping up with prescribed medications is also important after a kidney transplant. One type of drug, an immunosuppressant, works to prevent transplant rejection by suppressing the immune system. These drugs can also lower the body’s ability to fight infections. For this reason, proper hygiene and sanitation methods, such as hand washing, not sharing personal items, and ensuring meat is cooked thoroughly, is key. It is also wise to avoid contact with people who have contagious infections, if possible.

In addition to taking medications related to the transplant, patients should alert their doctors about all other medications they are taking. Certain drugs can have negative interactions with medication prescribed following a transplant, and can render that medication ineffective, putting the patient at risk. Even over-the-counter medications, including herbal teas, remedies, and supplements, may pose a drug interaction risk.

A proper diet may also be essential to a healthy life after a kidney transplant. It is often recommended to eat foods lower in salt and unhealthy fats. Healthy fats, such as Omega 3 fatty acids, are necessary for proper health and may be eaten. Whole grains, water, fruits, vegetables, and fish are some examples of foods that transplant patients may be allowed to eat.

Participating in an appropriate exercise regimen may help keep the body healthy and strong after a kidney transplant. Many different types of exercises may be appropriate, as long as they are doctor approved. This can help keep blood pressure low and help keep bones strong.

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