Categories
Addiction Recovery Life Transitions Loss Organ Transplant Pre & Post Surgical

Quick Look at Kidney Transplants

The Quick Look at Kidney Transplants

The kidneys are a fundamental element of our excretory system. The two bean-shaped kidneys play a very critical role in the human body. They are responsible for filtering out the blood and other body fluids. In this way, they ensure the release of waste that we don’t need and that can actually be harmful to hold on to. But when serious problems arise, a kidney transplant may be needed. And that can be a bit scary and overwhelming. You don’t have to go it alone. Below you will find a quick look at kidney transplants and a few ways we end up getting there.

There are several sorts of kidney problems that can occur. You might experience a kidney stone, swelling or deterioration. All of these kidney problems can halt those “exit” functions. For example, if the kidney becomes unable to filter blood, then the wastes accumulate within different body parts, causing numerous issues like high blood pressure. When approximately 90% of a kidney stops filtering and excreting, it results in kidney failure. 

Kidney transplantation is a life-saving procedure – and more frequent than you might think. It can be a solution for  kidney failure and other conditions requiring the removal of one or both kidneys.

In the initial stages, kidney “wash through” machines and dialysis might work. However, in severe kidney failure, the likely option is a kidney transplant. 

Although a human body can survive on one kidney, more health compromised people need another. And people with other medical ailments or second kidney failure will have to rely on an outsourced kidney; a kidney transplant. 

Causes of Kidney Failure 

Despite occurring naturally as we age, a few other factors can also cause kidney failure. Individuals having diabetes are more prone to kidney problems. Chronic or uncontrolled blood pressure levels also add to kidney damage. (the consistent inflammation can affect the filtering process). Unchecked, these all eventually lead you towards severe kidney failure. Increasing the chance that you will end up needing a kidney transplant.

Dialysis Vs. Kidney Transplant

With failed kidney, there can be two available options. First, you can go for dialysis, which is a machine-assisted excretion treatment and requires regular treatments for a lifetime. Second, you can seek ti have a kidney transplant. 

No doubt, a kidney transplant can seem scarier than dialysis. When is surgery not scarier? But it can be effective in the long term and raise the improvement and quality of life. With dialysis, a person has to continue undergoing the same procedure again and again. There is no point at which you recover -it’s an ongoing treatment process. It is because dialysis is a more of a maintenance procedure rather than a fixed point treatment. 

A kidney transplant, on the other hand, is a distinct and hopefully one-time procedure. Once you have a matched donor, undergone surgery and completed your recovery your health status, ideally, you should be improved. That is why a kidney transplant is often a preferable choice. 

Some people are afraid of surgery or getting rejected during kidney transplants. And let’s be very clear, you need to be willing to care for the new kidney and the recovery has a lot requirements and continued success depends on your ability to make a lot of lifestyle changes and keep them. Many people are ready to promise anything in the face of a serious medical condition – the reality is, with a transplant you are already very lucky to get a new organ to begin with – you need to be serious in your commitment. It’s rare enough to get a great match, you aren’t likely to get another one. 

In the end, it’s up to the patient and their physician to determine what is the best path for them.

Why Choose a Kidney Transplant?

When compared to dialysis, a kidney transplant can be preferable because of the following reasons;

• Low Treatment Cost – It is one-time, whereas dialysis will continue to cost for a lifetime. 

• Better Quality of Life –It gives you the opportunity to live the rest of your life in a better state of health – for many, this means in peace and comfort.

• Fewer Dietary Restrictions –Unlike dialysis patients, there are fewer limitations on what or what not to eat. 

• Lesser Health Risk –Unlike dialysis, it enables you to stay healthy in the long run.

Kidney transplant is not always an option. A few things might restrict you from going for a transplant. It is potentially unsuitable for people with old age, severe heart diseases, cancer, mental illness, alcohol or drug addiction, etc. So, everyone needs to consult with the doctor first, and if it comes under any no-go category, the person will have to continue with dialysis. 

Types of Donors for Kidney Transplant

For a kidney transplant, there can be two types of kidney donors. They are the following; 

1) Living Donor

A human body can rely completely on one healthy kidney for all metabolic activities. That is why a person with two healthy kidneys can donate a kidney to someone else who needs one. However, there are criteria to be met, such as blood group and tissues, to matchto either donate or accept a kidney. 

A kidney donor can be a family member or someone else. It is always preferable to receive a kidney from a blood relation as it lets you avoid the risk of rejection and is usually beneficial. 

2) Deceased Donor

Another way of getting a kidney is from a deceased person. It happens in a way that hospitals usually gather data on people needing a kidney. The hospital is informed immediately whenever a deceased person’s kidney matches the patient. The doctor prepares an instant surgery for a transplant. It is a very time sensitive process because the kidney transplant should take place shortly for a kidney to be valuable. 

Kidney Transplant Procedure 

Kidney transplantation is more or less like other surgical treatments. During a kidney transplant surgery, the doctor injects the anesthetic dose within your blood through an intravenous line in your arm. It is basically to make you fall asleep or for a while to undergo the incision. Once unconscious, the doctor makes an incision to open up your abdominal region. He then puts in the donor’s kidney and connects the arteries and veins to your circulatory system. As the blood starts flowing, the new kidneys function within your body.

Alongside that, your kidneys need a connection to the ureter. It can only then carry on the excretion process smoothly. The doctor connects the newly induced kidney to the ureter and the bladder. 

As far as your original kidneys are concerned, they usually remain inside the body and aren’t disposed of. However, in some cases, when the failed kidney causes trouble, it is removed too. 

Risks of Having a Kidney Transplant

Although a prevailing treatment for severe kidney issues or kidney failure, a kidney transplant is not a full-proof solution. It causes multiple risks either during the transplantation surgery or afterward.

• Rejection of the Donor Organ – While operating, the donated kidney might not be compatible with your body. It is possible to even after undergoing the matching tests and everything else. So, there is definitely risk, even beyond the ones typical of surgery. 

• Kidney Diseases –The transplantation, although it eradicates the ailment, for the time being, there are chances of the patient regaining a mild or severe ailment. 

• Side-effects –Undergoing the surgery can cause you side effects. It will leave an incision mark and temporarily cause redness, swelling, and pain. 

None of the above three risks is unpreventable. Almost every doctor provides medication to minimize donor rejection, kidney diseases and surgical side effects. And there is a lot that you can do to help or hinder your own success.

Postoperative Possible Complications of  Kidney Transplant

• Infection – Minor infections like urinary tract infections, colds, and flu are common after kidney transplants. However, in most severe conditions, pneumonia or CMV (cytomegalovirus) infection may occur.

• Blood clots –  The most common complication after a kidney transplant is the development of blood clots in the arteries connected to the donated kidney. In some cases, medications can be used to dissolve the blood clots.

• Urine leakage –  Sometimes, after a kidney transplant, urine may leak through the connection between the ureter and bladder. This usually happens during the first-month post-kidney transplant.

Conclusion 

Opting for a kidney transplant requires you to think twice before jumping in. It ultimately, is up to you because you must live with both the benefits, risks and lifestyle changes required of the transplant. You must be brave enough to analyze the situation and make a decision. 

Facing this decision and the life changes and commitment it requires can be extremely stressful. And not just on you, but also on your loved ones whose life will also change in the process. You both may feel worried about you undergoing surgery, fear of rejection or other complications. It marks a transition period in your life and theirs – and that is stressful all around. Be gracious and kind to yourself and each other. Stress directly impacts health, so consider working with a professional counselor who is experienced at working with transplant patients and their loved ones.

Do exercise, eat healthy, engage in positive activities, and take good care of yourself before and after the kidney transplant. And obviously, alcohol and other drugs will only damage your chances and your new kidney – you need to leave those behind. Change your lifestyle so you can spend your life in style.

References

1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK567755/

2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK553074/

3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7230851/

4. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5549004/

5. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6716102/

6. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8711553/

Categories
Organ Transplant

Counseling Organ Transplant Patients

Counseling for Organ Transplant Patients

Having trouble sleeping? Finding it hard to focus on anything else? Tensions building between you and your loved ones? Organ transplant surgery is an amazing life-extending medical marvel – it’s also a very taxing process; on you and your closest circle of supporters. Whether you are waiting for an organ donor match to come up or adjusting to the changes that follow – organ transplant surgery is both exciting and stressful. Each person will travel this journey a little differently, your
experience is personal and parts of it very unique to you. Counseling for organ transplant patients helps clients live their best life every day, before and after surgery.

But keep in mind that all surgery, especially organ transplant surgery, no matter how successful is still a traumatic experience for your body. And what affects the body also affects the mind – there’s an integrity of experience here that in it’s best condition keeps us grounded, clear and working towards keeping a healthy balance in life. It’s perfectly normal to experience a full spectrum of emotions and feelings – anxiety affects us all. If sleep problems, irritability, adjusting to new health requirements, poor memory or focus and intrusive worries are plaguing you – before or after transplant surgery – I’d like to help. Counseling with a seasoned, counselor who specializes in working with organ transplant and medical patients can make a big difference.

Your Reactions Are Normal, The Situation Is Not

Most people go through their lives not really giving a second thought to the stress associated with surgery; why would they? But all surgery – even your successful organ transplant – is a hardship and an intrusion to your body. Just because it helps doesn’t mean the experience isn’t difficult. Surgery is a traumatic experience for the body and it’s pretty common for your emotions and thoughts to respond to this as well. Anxiety before or after surgery is to be expected. For some patients this may be periodic and mild stress reactions. Others may experience, insomnia, panic attacks, relationship strains and more. It’s important to keep in mind that you are likely having normal reactions to an abnormal experience.

When facing a challenging period in your life, your positive and peaceful frame of mind can be one of the best preventative medicines. Here’s an example; stress often invokes the production of cortisol in the brain. While cortisol is a natural and necessary function – too much, too frequently can actually diminish your physical health. Being your healthiest you possible as you are preparing for your new liver or kidney or maintaining optimum physical health after your successful surgery are very important goals that you are facing. Not addressing the stress and anxiety you are experiencing actually puts a hardship on your health. To ensure your best outcomes – it’s extremely important to manage your anxiety as best you can.

How I Can Help You Now

In my practice I keep the counseling experience personal, pragmatic and applicable. I meet each person with compassion and always preserve their dignity. It’s a challenging journey and making the decision to do everything possible to come out ahead takes real courage. In our sessions you will learn how your brain and body respond to stress, gain concrete tools for reducing and managing your anxiety and practice skills that increase your focus and encourage a healthier and happier frame of mind as you transition through each stage of your organ transplant process.

KidneyWalk

I have been working with patients struggling to balance severe medical conditions, anxiety and depression for over twenty years. I work with patients and their family/loved ones who provide caregiver support. I am nationally board certified and a fully and independently licensed professional and perhaps more important to know is that I am very dedicated to my patients and the constant growth of my specialties; including counseling organ transplant patients.

Why Your Journey Matters To Me

More personally, I have been through several years of a progressive and debilitating illness before a successful surgery intervened. I understand personally the strain, fears and confusion that plague us as we face and deal with an illness, manage the relationships with our loved ones and adjust to life after surgery. That call, from deep inside that drives us towards a life where we can be healthy, be whole and live more fully in every precious day we have is one that I have heard and continue to answer.

The many years of seasoned professional experience, paired with the understanding that only comes from a shared experience, puts me in a unique position to be able to help my clients who are facing serious medical challenges. I pull from neurology, physiology, cognitive-behavioral therapy, solution-focused and brief therapy and even Eastern practices such as mindfulness when counseling transplant patients to help guide my clients through this life transition successfully.

If you have questions or would like to talk about whether this is a good fit for you (or one of your patients), please feel free to call me directly at 832-498-7071. I always offer a free, 20 minute phone consult and am happy to talk with you. You can also find loads of articles on an array of subjects on our blog at Live Better Live Now.

It’s a courageous and overwhelming path you are on. I’d like to help.

Call Now (346)-493-6181

image

Ben Carrettin is a Nationally Board Certified Counselor (NCC), Licensed Professional Counselor-Supervisor (LPC-S) and Licensed Chemical Dependency Counselor (LCDC). He is the owner of Practice Improvement Resources, LLC; a private business which offers an array of specialized counseling, evidenced-based clinical consultation, Critical Incident Stress Management (CISM) and targeted ESI-based services to individuals and businesses.