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Life After Transplantation / Managing Comorbidities

Diabetes & High Blood Pressure
Some anti-rejection medications can temporarily raise blood sugar levels. To prevent this, medication dosage can be lowered and/or dietary changes implemented to lower sugar consumption. To manage the risk of high blood sugar, you can: 

  • Maintain physical activity
  • Eat a balanced diet
  • Maintain a healthy weight
  • Quit smoking

High Cholesterol 
Many immunosuppressants can lead to high cholesterol, which may interfere with a successful transplant. , Speak to your doctor about controlling your cholesterol through diet, exercise and medication.

Many immunosuppressant medications can make patients at risk for developing shingles. Antiviral medications prescribed by a doctor may lessen the severity of shingles.

Mental Health
Receiving and donating a kidney is a life changing surgery. It is common to experience strong emotions, or feel depressed and/or anxious. Many recipients may feel shame sharing their mental health concerns with their transplant care team because they feel “ungrateful,” or because

  • Discussions about depression and anxiety can be highly stigmatized, especially within ACB communities. Speaking about your emotions and thoughts with your transplant team and immediate support group can help you cope after surgery.
  • There may be social workers and psychiatrists available through the hospital to help you with your mental health and any struggles with your job, family, or finances
  • Helping others on the transplant waiting list may help you adjust to post-transplant life. You may be able to become a “transplant peer mentor” – reach out to your transplant team if you’d like to speak with other patients about your experience.

To read about thanking a kidney donor, see here.