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Transplant Recipient Information

Benefits and Challenges of Kidney Transplant

There are many benefits of kidney transplant, but there are also challenges.

What are the benefits of a kidney transplant?

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  • You’ll have a better quality of life.
  • You won’t need dialysis.
  • You’ll have more time to do things you enjoy.
  • It will be easier to travel.
  • You’ll be healthier overall.
  • You’ll have more energy.
  • You’ll have more freedom with your diet.
  • You’ll have more time for yourself and your family.
  • You’ll have time to go to school or to work.
  • You may live longer.

What are the challenges of a kidney transplant?

  • Your lifestyle will be different.
  • You’ll need a new plan to manage your kidney health. Remember, a lot of your focus after transplant will be to protect your new kidney.
  • You’ll need to take care of your kidney and yourself for the rest of your life.
  • Your body could reject the new kidney.
  • There will be changes to your medications​  (see the medications page for more about medications
    • You’ll be taking a lot of pills every day.
    • You’ll have to take medications for as long as you have the transplanted kidney.
    • These medications may have side effects.
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epSos.de. Tasty Food in Abundance in Healthy Europe. [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

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After a kidney transplant, you have a higher risk of certain health problems.

Diabetes

  • Up to 25% of people who’ve had a transplant get diabetes within 2 years after the transplant. This is because of the medications you need to take after a transplant.
  • Some people will have diabetes for a short time.
  • Others will have diabetes for the rest of their lives, and may need pills, insulin, or both.
  • If you have diabetes, the transplant might make the diabetes harder to control.

Infection

To stop your body from rejecting the kidney, you’ll need to take medications to lower (suppress) your immune system. These are called anti-rejection or immunosuppressant medications. These medications make it harder for your body to fight infections. These infections could be caused by viruses or bacteria. This means you might be sick more often.

Cancer

Some people may get cancer, but the chances are low. You can do things to prevent some types of cancer.

Other Health Problems

People who have kidney transplants are at risk of other health problems, often because of their medications. The transplant team will watch you closely and work with you to help you be healthy and lower the risk. ​​​​​​​​​

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