Healing After Kidney Transplant
Many transplant recipients feel much healthier after their surgery. But to fully heal and get back to a “new normal," you'll need to follow your doctor's instructions to the letter.
Once you're home, we recommend that you:
1. Adopt a healthy diet.
You should eat foods low in salt and sugar to help control your blood pressure. A diet rich in whole grains, lean protein, and fresh fruits and veggies will also help you maintain a healthy weight.
2. Start an exercise program.
It's important to be active after your transplant. Your transplant team will urge you to walk as much as you can soon after surgery.
Once you're home, it's vital to stay active to keep your weight and blood pressure at a healthy level.
Your transplant team will tailor your workouts to your needs, which could include:
- Moderate biking
3. Make sure you have an emotional support team.
Having a kidney transplant can bring some mental health challenges. You may even struggle with conflicting feelings in the weeks after surgery.
For instance, you may:
- Feel guilty for having a transplant while others are still waiting for a kidney.
- Be sad that your new kidney came from someone who died.
- Feel unsure or anxious about your newfound life.
Talking with family and friends can help with feelings of sadness, anxiety, or guilt.
You can also reach out to your transplant team at UPMC for guidance or about support groups post-kidney transplant.
4. Avoid being around sick people.
If you have contact with someone who has flu or pneumonia, you could get very sick.
Be sure to wash your hands thoroughly and use antimicrobial gel during cold and flu season.
5. Keep taking your anti-rejection medicine as prescribed.
You'll need to take anti-rejection drugs after your transplant, most likely for the rest of your life. You'll also need to keep taking medications for any other health conditions you have.
Talk to your transplant team if you have any questions about the medicines you take.
6. Avoid anyone who's recently had a live vaccine.
You should avoid children or others who've had live vaccines for:
- Nasal flu
Post-transplant, there are some vaccines you shouldn't get. Talk to your doctor about those you should and shouldn't receive.
7. Keep all your appointments and have all needed lab tests.
Even if you're feeling better, only your doctor can tell if your medications are working right by checking your lab results.
And the closer you follow your doctor's instructions, the more likely you are to have a healthy, successful recovery after kidney transplant.