Reality check: Busted myths about kidney donation

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Reality check: Busted myths about kidney donation

There are a number of cases of people either waiting for a kidney donor or receiving one after years of wait. But, while the gesture is one of the most humanitarian one that a person can make, people often shy away from donating based on the fear that their life will be forever changed after they donate. So, in order to set the record straight, here are some of the common myths about kidney donation.

Myth 1: There are lifelong complications and precautions one has to take after donating their kidney.

Reality: Before one donates a kidney, the person undergoes a thorough medical examination, where every parameter of his/her health is checked. Donation is allowed only after it is found that the person is medically fit to donate his or her kidney and will not face any health hazard later in their life. Thus, there are no precautions as such that one has to take as long as they live. A potential kidney donor goes through multiple tests for his or her health examination and tests to gauge of their blood and tissue typing are in accordance with the recipients. They are tested not only for their all round health but also for significant diseases like diabetes, hypertension, heart disease and kidney disease. Considering their lifestyle and long term health is also one of the things a transplant surgeon usually looks into. Therefore the possibility of the donor falling ill after the donation is ruled out at numerous stages.

Myth 2: There are some very drastic lifestyle changes a kidney donor has to make after donation, even the food you eat will change.

Reality: A donor normally has to make no real changes in their diet. They can live normally and eat the same foods they used to eat before. As a donor your lifestyle and food habits need not change. Considering the fact that you are already healthy and have very few damaging lifestyle factors before you donate, drastic changes are usually not required.

Myth 3: After a kidney donation the patient often spends months in the hospital.

Reality: The donor is administered bed rest for about 3 to 4 days after the operation. Thereafter, staying for 10 days at home, the person gets the stitches removed and then can resume his or her normal life. The only restriction a kidney donor might have to follow is to avoid lifting heavy weights for the first three months, after which he or she is free to get back to their normal life. Heavy weights mean anything heavier than five kilograms. The donor is free to carry handbags and other light items.

Myth 4: After donation the other kidney can get damaged more easily.

Reality: The incidence of dialysis and kidney failure is much lower in people who had donated their kidney when compared to the general population. This is because these people are fit when their kidney is removed and therefore remain healthy. Moreover they are more cautious about their lifestyle helping them stay fitter in the long run.

Myth 5: Kidney donation means a lifetime of regular tests and hospital visits.

Reality: While a donor will be required to undergo some tests periodically, it in no way means that he or she will have to spend a lifetime visiting the hospital. After donation a donor will have to get his or her kidney function tested once in three to six months after the surgery. After that they need not make repeated visits to the hospital. But nephrologists say these donors should keep an eye for early indicators of high blood pressure and diabetes.a

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