Organ Donation Saving the Lives of PKD Patients

 

Kidney Cars is keen to tell you how to donate your car in order to further research and services for those struggling with kidney disease. But there is another kind of donation that also needs to be talked about: organ donation.

Kidney Donation Statistics

There are currently over 120,000 individuals awaiting organ transplant in the United States. Of that number over 100,000 of them are waiting for a kidney. The prevalence of kidney disease and its influence on the body, as well as the 95% success rate with kidney transplants make it the highest number on the transplant waiting list. In 2014, just over 17,000 kidney transplants were performed on patients ranging in age from one year to over 65.

This lifesaving treatment has been successful in extending and bettering the life of kidney patients for many years, but there is still much to be done.

The average wait time for someone on the donation list is roughly 3.5 years. During that time many patients find themselves worsening and some die or become too sick for the lifesaving operation by the time a kidney becomes available.

Why the Wait?

Organ transplant is no longer the experimental procedure it once was. It has proven successful for decades now, but the number of patients who receive a transplant are still low when compared with the number of patients who desperately need one. Why does this happen?

First, kidney transplants are different than many other organ transplants in that a kidney can be donated by a living individual. Since most people have two kidneys, but a human can function well with only one, siblings, parents, and sometimes complete strangers can donate a kidney to save the life of someone who needs one. Typically, this kind of donation only happens when a friend or family member becomes aware of the need.

With the medical advancements and the speed and accuracy of computer databases around the nation, it should be easier and faster than ever for kidney patients to receive a donation, but the donation process also needs one other thing: donors.

Deciding to donate a kidney is a big decision that affects an individual’s health, finances, work, and emotional well-being. It isn’t something to do on a whim or half-heartedly, but the need truly is tremendous. If you are considering donating more than just a car to help end kidney disease, please visit the National Kidney Foundation website for donors. It is a great place to get started.

What to Do While Waiting

For kidney patients, organ donation can mean the difference between life and death. For someone who has been on the transplant list a long time it can also be an emotionally trying time filled with a continual pull between hope and fear, anxiety and peace. For those waiting for a donation that matches their needs, there are things to focus on that can help.

  • Create a support team. Friends, family, clergy or spiritual leaders, and anyone who brings you comfort can be a huge part of helping you deal with the waiting and receiving of an organ transplant
  • Keep all of your appointments. Stay up to date on your condition and follow your doctor’s recommendations.
  • Focus on service. Many individuals who are in a "patience" situation find that offering service of some kind can be very emotionally beneficial. For some it is as simple as adopting a pet, sending letters to servicemen and women, or as involved as volunteering time at a homeless shelter.
  • Practice gratitude. Most experts in the field of psychology and positive living agree that expressing gratitude, even in the face of tremendous difficulties and hardships, can have a positive impact on mental and physical health. Mindful gratitude, a recognition of all that is right even when so much is wrong, can help you to get through the waiting period.

What You Can Do Today

If you are considering becoming an organ donor, there are a few steps you can take to ensure that your wishes are followed by your family. For living donation, follow the link provided above. In the event of your death it is important for your family, doctors, and emergency responders to know of your intention to donate your organs.

It’s important for your family to understand how you feel about organ donation. Thinking about losing a loved one is hard, talking about organ donation before the need arises is important and can help your family in the event of your death. Make sure that they understand your desire to donate your organs will not keep you from receiving the best emergency medical care possible.

Make your donation preference known on your drivers’ license. This is one of the best places to start if you want to donate your organs in the event of your death. It is also important to fill out a donor card so that medical personnel know it is your wish.

Stay healthy.

Healthy donors are needed. Many willing individuals are unable to donate their organs because of medical conditions that have damaged the organs themselves. Keep yourself healthy, for yourself and for the person you might possibly save.

Be sure that donation is right for you. There are social workers who can answer your questions and help you make this decision. It is an important one.