Your life will change after you have a kidney transplant. There are many benefits, but there are also some changes that will affect you for the rest of your life.
Better quality of life
After your transplant, you'll:
- be healthier overall
- have no need for dialysis with a successful transplant
- have more freedom with your diet
- generally, live longer than if you were on dialysis
More time and energy
After your transplant, you'll be able to:
- do more things you enjoy
- spend more time with your family and friends
- go back to school or work
- travel more easily
Changes in your life
Your lifestyle will be different than when you were on dialysis. Your main health focus after transplant will be to protect your new kidney. These are changes you’ll need to make for the rest of your life.
Your transplant team will work with you to make a new plan to manage your kidney health. This will include:
- frequent blood work – sometimes as often as weekly or monthly
- advice about activities, diet, and lifestyle
medicines to protect your kidney
- you’ll be taking a lot of pills every day
- you’ll have to take medicines for as long as you have the transplanted kidney
- these medicines may have side effects
Rejection of your new kidney
Your body could reject the new kidney. The body fights against the transplanted kidney. The most common reason for this is when the post-transplant medicines are stopped or not taken as directed.
In some cases, people who have had a kidney transplant get diabetes after the transplant. The medicines you need to take after a transplant may put you at a higher risk of this side effect.
Other factors that may lead to people getting diabetes after transplant include lifestyle factors, weight gain, and other medical conditions.
Some people will have diabetes only for a short time. Others will have diabetes for the rest of their lives, and may need pills, insulin, or both.
If you already have diabetes, the transplant might make the diabetes harder to control.
To stop your body from rejecting the kidney, you’ll need to take medicines to lower (suppress) your immune system. These are called anti-rejection or immunosuppressant medicines. These medicines make it harder for your body to fight infections. These infections could be caused by viruses, fungi, or bacteria. This means you might be sick more often and you might take longer to recover from illnesses and infections.
Some people may get cancer, but the chances are low. You can do things to prevent some types of cancer.
Be sure to keep up to date with your cancer screenings as directed by your Transplant Team.
For more information on cancer risks and screening see
Screening for life and Skin cancer screening.
Other health problems
People who have kidney transplants may be at risk of other health problems, often because of their medicines. The transplant team will work with you to carefully watch your health. With help and advice from your transplant team, you can take steps to lower your risks and help you to your best health after your kidney transplant.