Common Mistakes Kidney Patients Make & How to Avoid Them, Part 4: Assuming Dialysis Comes First

By Risa Simon

Your doctor will help you decide when you need to start treatment for kidney failure. This decision is based on your symptoms, other medical conditions you may have and how much kidney function you have left. Most CKD patients rarely pick transplant as their first choice, mostly because they are unaware of this opportunity and its unparalleled value. Perhaps you thought dialysis was required before you’d be considered for a transplant. This misconception can keep superior choices beyond your reach.

In fact there are benefits of having a transplant without having dialysis first. Your health care professional can refer you to a transplant center for tests. Or you can contact a local transplant center directly. If a family member or friend is willing to donate a kidney, the tests can be started right away. If there is a “match,” surgery can be scheduled. However, if you do not have a living donor, you will need to be on a waiting list until a kidney from a suitably matched deceased donor becomes available. In the meantime, you can have dialysis treatments.

Woefully, less than 3% of CKD patients choose a preemptive transplant (a transplant performed before the need for dialysis).  If there’s a chance that you could be a transplant candidate, you’ll need to proactively create a plan to attract potential live-kidney donors. If you are told you would not be eligible, be sure to verify this through a second opinion. Also, find out what you could do to change that status, if anything. (Common transplant restrictions include serious active infection, active malignancy, heart disease and obesity). Learn the rules and then give it all you’ve got to achieve the best possible outcome.

For more information on transplantation visit the National Kidney Foundation website here.

Don’t miss the other posts in this series:

Common Mistakes Kidney Patients Make & How to Avoid Them, Part 1: Ignoring Your Numbers

Common Mistakes Kidney Patients Make & How to Avoid Them, Part 2: Forgetting to Ask & Tell

Common Mistakes Kidney Patients Make & How to Avoid Them, Part 3: Playing the Waiting Game

About Risa Simon: As a motivational speaker, 3x published author, patient educator and Peer Mentor for the NKF, Risa has one goal: To empower kidney patients to become their own best advocate. Risa is the founder of Simon Says Seminars, Inc., The Proactive Path and KidneyKinships.org. Known as the kidney patient’s patient advocate, she followed the proactive systems she created for herself and others, and is now living her best life ever. This is what she wants for all transplant eligible patients. Her tips, scripts and Donor Magnet® system can be found in her book: Shift Your Fate: Life-Changing Wisdom For Proactive Kidney Patients. For more information visit: www.shiftyourfate.com

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