The news that music legend Stevie Wonder is set to undergo a kidney transplant has a lot of people wondering what that must be like. If your family member has kidney failure or another kidney problem that could lead to a kidney transplant, you’re likely wondering the same thing.

A kidney transplant removes an unhealthy kidney from the patient and replaces it with a healthy kidney from a donor. Approximately 21,000 people in the United States have a kidney transplant each year. Of those, almost 4,000 are older adults above the age of 50.

Donor kidneys can come from a live donor, as is the case with Wonder, or they can come from a cadaver. Unfortunately, there are fewer organs available than are needed. For that reason, people who are on the transplant list to receive a cadaver organ may wait between 3 and 5 years for a match. For that reason, many people search for a living donor among family members and friends.

While kidney transplants occur as a result of many conditions, they are primarily done for one reason. When a kidney breaks down to the point that it can no longer effectively remove fluids and waste from the body. A build up and fluid and waste causes blood pressure to rise and results in kidney failure. A transplant is necessary when the kidneys are down to about 10 percent of their normal function.

Some things that can cause kidney failure are:

  • Diabetes.
  • High blood pressure that is not controlled.
  • Chronic glomerulonephritis, which is inflammation and scarring in the kidney’s filters.
  • Polycystic kidney disease.

Until a person can receive a kidney transplant, they will need dialysis to filter the blood. However, dialysis is usually not a permanent solution. Having a transplant improves the person’s quality of life, reduces the risk of death, and is more cost effective.

After a kidney transplant, most people remain in the hospital for 5 days or less. While they should start to feel better in about 2 weeks, they’ll be unable to do many of their usual activities, like driving and lifting, for up to 8 weeks.

If your family member will be having a kidney transplant, consider contacting a senior care agency to hire in-home help. A senior care provider can assist before the transplant surgery by offering transportation to and from dialysis appointments. After the surgery, senior care can assist with tasks around the house that the patient cannot do, such as cleaning and laundry. Senior care providers can also drive them to run errands or to see friends and family.


If you are considering senior care in Cinco Ranch, TX, for an aging loved one, please call the caring staff at At Your Side Home Care. We will answer all of your senior care questions. Call today: (832) 271-1600.

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