If you have had or are going to receive a kidney transplant, there are many things that you may need to know about the recovery. One of the most important processes of the healing time is the immunosuppressant drugs your physician will order. While this will aid in your recovery, you must also understand that immunosuppressant therapy lasts a lifetime.
What Is Immunosuppressant Therapy?
Upon having a kidney transplant, you will immediately begin taking drugs designed to target your immune system. This is not only crucial to kidney transplant recovery time but to ensure that your body does not reject the kidney throughout your life. These medications are usually steroid based and literally suppress the immune system by limiting its functioning.
As with most other drugs, there are side effects associated with immunosuppressant therapy during and following kidney transplant recovery. This can differ significantly from one patient to the next but usually includes weight gain, excessive hair growth, diabetes, bone disease, high blood pressure and greater susceptibility to contagious illnesses. You should keep in mind that these are only some of the potential side effects that you can experience and there are more. While you may experience weight gain early in kidney transplant recovery, some of these side effects may not surface until well after you have healed and not all patients will have these problems.
Avoiding Potential Problems from Therapy
Although side effects can occur from immunosuppressant therapy during and after your kidney transplant recovery, there are things that you can do to reduce the likelihood of these events. For example, eating a well balanced diet and exercising. This will not only help you maintain a healthy weight but can reduce the incidence of high blood pressure and diabetes. Those that are healthier are also at lower risk for illness and disease.
Immunosuppressant therapy is necessary but there are different treatments which may be available. Some studies suggest that those taking these drugs may benefit from what is known as rapid steroid elimination protocol. This treatment reduces or completely eliminates the use of steroids in the immunosuppressant. Clinical trials show promising evidence that these drugs are just as effective and can significantly decrease the likelihood of many side effects.
You should speak with your physician about any concerns that you may have regarding your kidney transplant surgery and immunosuppressant drugs. While exercise is great, during your initial kidney transplant recovery, you will be limited in what you can and cannot do. Not all kidney transplant recipients will be a good candidate for alternative therapies. Always seek the advice of qualified health care personnel before starting any type of exercise regimen or taking any medications that he or she did not prescribe, including over the counter medications.
Enhancing Transplant Recovery with An Easier Pill to Swallow. University of Maryland Medical Center. 17, October 2008. Viewed 22, August 2010. http://www.umm.edu/transplant/patient/steroid_free.htm
Organ Transplant, Diet and Weight Gain. WebMD. 2005-2010. Viewed 22, August 2010. http://www.webmd.com/heart-disease/living-with-an-organ-transplant/diet-weight