Let’s Celebrate National Donate Life Month

April is National Donate Life Month (NDLM) and a chance to raise awareness about the importance of organ donation. When it comes to donating organs, kidneys are special because they’re one of just a handful of organs that can be donated by a living person.

Making a live kidney donation is an incredibly brave sacrifice that can save another person’s life. That’s why at KidneySPA we celebrate donors as the heroes they are!

Here are some key facts about kidney donation:

  • More than 90,000 people in the U.S. are waiting for a kidney donation.
  • 85% of patients waiting for a transplant are waiting on a new kidney.
  • The average waiting time for a kidney from a deceased donor is 3-5 years.

Because a person can live with only one kidney, a living donor offers patients an alternative to years of dialysis while they wait on the transplant list. Living donors can reduce this wait time to a year or less, and after the transplant, the donor’s remaining kidney will enlarge and start doing the work of two healthy kidneys.

So, who can donate a kidney? Family members are usually the most biologically compatible living donors, but many transplants occur between unrelated people. Different transplant centers have their own guidelines, but in general, living donors must be at least 18 years old, in good physical and mental health, and undergo an exam.
If you’re interested in becoming a real-life hero by saving someone’s life, register yourself as a living organ donor!

COVID-19 Vaccines & Kidney Disease: What You Should Know

elder patient with mask consulting with her doctor

At least three COVID-19 vaccines have been approved for emergency use by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Naturally, people with kidney disease or a kidney transplant are eager to know if these vaccines are safe to take – especially after living at higher risk for coronavirus-related complications for over a year.

Here at KidneySPA, we want to educate our patients, physician partners, and the public with up-to-date insights on COVID-19 vaccines and kidney issues from leading authorities, such as the American Kidney Fund and National Kidney Foundation. Before making any decisions about vaccination, though, it’s important to speak to your physician.

You may be wondering if COVID-19 vaccines are safe for people who:

  • Are living with chronic kidney disease (CKD)
  • Undergo dialysis on a regular basis
  • Take immunosuppressive drugs for kidney transplants

All of these populations are at greater risk for severe complications from COVID-19, and while guidance specific to kidney disease doesn’t exist yet, clinical vaccine trials did include people with other chronic health conditions, such as diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, liver disease, lung disease, asthma and HIV.

The results showed that COVID-19 vaccines can be safely given to people with any of those conditions, which is an encouraging sign. In the case of transplant recipients, vaccines that don’t involve a living virus – such as Pfizer and Moderna – are expected to be safe unless the recipient has other mitigating health issues.

Remember, even after you are fully vaccinated and free from side effects, you should still take precautions if you suffer from chronic kidney disease or participated in a kidney transplant. That means continuing to socially distance, avoid crowds, wear a mask, regularly wash your hands and more.

Why? Because while a vaccine significantly reduces your risk of contracting COVID-19, it can’t fully eliminate it. Please continue to protect yourself, and if you want to know more about getting vaccinated, contact your physician for personalized insights, or schedule a consultation with a KidneySPA specialist to get all your questions answered.

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