What Is It Like To Be Living with One Kidney
Many have read the heartwarming news stories of someone who saved another person’s life by donating a kidney, but living with one kidney is not as difficult as some might think. In fact, when one kidney is damaged or diseased, some patients may not even have any symptoms because the other kidney kicks in and does the work of both.
It is for that reason that a reasonably healthy person can make a choice to donate a kidney without it effecting their own length or quality of life. Often, the kidney is donated to a family member, but there are many cases of a complete stranger offering to donate one of their kidneys in order to save the life of someone who may not otherwise survive.
It is certainly one of the greatest gifts imaginable, but some may wonder what would happen if the one kidney that had left should fail or become injured. That is certainly a valid concern, but one that can be eased with the knowledge about how the national donor database works in this situation.
If a person donates an organ, either to a family member or to a stranger, they have the assurance of knowing that if their remaining kidney fails and they require a transplant that they move to the top of the organ waiting list.
Also, before one would be allowed to donate a kidney, they would have to undergo a series of medical tests. Their family history would be studied and the surgery would not be allowed if the doctors felt there was a good chance of the donor developing kidney disease.
Of course, not all such disease can be predicted, so knowing that the name of the donor would move to the top of the organ donor waiting list gives many such donors a measure of peace of mind.
A person living with one kidney will need to take extra care to stay healthy and to make choices that will help ensure the kidney continues working. That means working to maintain a healthy weight and exercising in order to ward off diseases such as diabetes and high blood pressure.
People living with one kidney should also undergo regular medical exams. Should the kidney have a problem it is best to catch it early.
If the donor was not used to drinking several glasses of water each day, he should certainly begin doing so right after the surgery. This will help to continually flush the kidney and keep it in top shape.
The decision to donate a kidney should not be taken lightly. If, however, it is something you would like to consider, you should talk to your doctor about all of the risks and what types of tests would be required.
It is a truly selfless act and, if you go ahead with the donation, you will have the satisfaction of knowing that you saved a life with your generosity.
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