Kidney transplant may be a better treatment for you than dialysis, because survival rates are better after transplant. You will also be able to live a more normal life, because you won't have to have dialysis. Although a kidney transplant is an expensive procedure, it may actually be less costly than long-term dialysis treatments.
There is often a long wait before you receive a donor kidney. And there is no guarantee that the transplant will be successful. Fewer complications occur in people who are good candidates for surgery and who do not have other serious medical conditions, such as unstable coronary artery disease or cancer, that may limit their life expectancy.
Not everyone is able to have a kidney transplant. You will not usually have a kidney transplant if you have an active infection or another life-threatening disease, such as cancer or significant heart or lung disease.
After having a kidney transplant, you will have to take medicines that suppress your immune system (immunosuppressive medicines) to help prevent your body from rejecting the new kidney. You will need to take these medicines for the rest of your life. Because these medicines weaken your immune system, you will have an increased risk for serious infections. There is also the chance that your body may still reject your new kidney even if you take these medicines. If this happens, you will have to start dialysis and possibly wait for another kidney transplant.
Immunosuppressive medicines also increase your risk of other diseases, such as skin cancer and lymphoma. You have a greater risk for diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, cataracts and inflammation of the liver (cirrhosis) if you are taking these medicines.
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