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(originally posted March 2021)

Receiving a new kidney through an organ transplant offers a second chance at life for patients who have longed to live a normal life free from years of suffering.  A kidney is one of those organs that can be donated by a living donor from a family member, friend, or by an altruistic donor.  For patients in need of a kidney transplant, their lives are consumed with symptoms that range from fatigue to confusion to irregular heartbeat and many other symptoms of renal failure disease.  Once they receive a transplant, those symptoms disappear.  While preparing for their transplant and after transplanted, the National Foundation for Transplants is a financial partner for many; helping them meet and overcome financial barriers.

According to the National Kidney Foundation, one set of symptoms disappear post-transplant but sometimes an unexpected, new illness will emerge:  Diabetes.  Patients are surprised when they’re diagnosed with diabetes and ask, “Is it normal to be diagnosed with diabetes after a transplant?”  One study suggests that one out of ten people who have transplants will develop diabetes which is usually triggered by anti-rejection medications.  These drugs are much more effective than when they were initially approved by the FDA for use in the 1980s.  Anti-rejection medications are instrumental in making transplants more successful.  The negative is that sometimes, based on other factors too, they may decrease the body’s ability to make insulin, increase insulin resistance, and are harmful to the cells that make the insulin.  Steroids, a common medication in the transplant world, can also trigger the body to respond differently to foods called carbohydrates.

However, the good news is that it is possible to manage (and sometimes reverse) diabetes by controlling blood sugars.

National Kidney Month is a good time to bring this subject to the forefront.  Get the information you need to be prepared to live life to the fullest post-transplant.  Learn more about post-transplant diabetes at the National Kidney Foundation website.

Anyone can register to become an organ donor at RegisterMe.org.  Living donors and organ recipients can contact National Foundation for Transplants when they need help raising funds for out-of-pocket transplant-related expenses.  We’ exist to help transplant patients through their most difficult times get to their most wonderful times.  You can support their transplant journey with a financial gift.