When kidneys fail, there are three treatment choices:
Many people feel that a successful kidney transplant provides a better quality of life because it may mean greater freedom, more energy and a less strict diet. In making a decision about whether this is the best treatment for you, you may find it helpful to talk to people who already have a kidney transplant. You also need to speak to your doctor, nurse and family members.
What is a kidney transplant?
A kidney transplant is an operation in which a person with kidney failure receives a new kidney. The new kidney takes over the work of cleaning the blood.
Are there different kinds of kidney transplants?
Yes. There are two types of kidney transplants: those that come from living donors and those that come from unrelated donors who have died (non-living donors). A living donor may be someone in your family. It may also be your spouse or close friend. In some cases, it may be a stranger who wishes to donate a kidney to anyone in need of a transplant. There are advantages and disadvantages to both types of kidney transplants.
What is rejection?
The most important problem that may happen after transplant is rejection of the kidney. The body’s immune system guards against attack from anything foreign, such as bacteria. This defense system may recognize tissue transplanted from someone else as “foreign” and attack this “foreign invader.”
You will need to take immunosuppressant medicine every day to prevent rejection of your new kidney. Anti-rejection medications have a large number of possible side effects because the body’s immune defenses are suppressed.