Living Donation

Living Donation

Increasingly, more living donor transplants are performed in the United States each year. With over 80,000 people on the waiting list for a kidney transplant, the kidney is the organ most commonly donated and the one needed the most. Living donors may also donate a portion of their liver or lung to give others a second chance at life. Nationwide, African-Americans, Hispanics and Native Americans make up 35% of the individuals on the waiting list for kidney transplants. In North Carolina and in many other Southern states, that figure exceeds 60%.

Any type of surgery involves risks but there are a number of benefits to living kidney donation.

  • Patients don’t always have to get on the transplant waiting list
  • The surgery can actually be scheduled at a convenient time
  • Statistically, transplants from living donors are more successful

Immediate family members are most likely to be a good match. Close friends and even strangers can however donate a kidney. If you are interested in becoming a living donor, contact the Transplant Department at Carolinas Medical Center, the only transplant center in the region. http://www.carolinashealthcare.org/cmc-transplant

Prevention

Fortunately, many of the leading causes of organ failure such as high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease and certain forms of cancer can be prevented.  Being healthy and leading a healthy lifestyle not only will keep you from needing a transplant, but will keep your organs healthy in case you ever want to become a living donor.

To lead a healthier lifestyle, follow these tips:

  • Limit foods high in salt, cholesterol and saturated fats such as fried foods
  • Exercise regularly – at least three times per week for a minimum of 30 minutes
  • Have your blood pressure checked at least twice a year
  • Get tested for diabetes and other illnesses that can lead to organ failure
  • Don’t smoke cigarettes or use other harmful/illegal substances
  • Visit your doctor at least once a year for a full check-up

Additional information for people interested in living donation or who have had an organ transplant is available at www.transplantliving.org.