Transplant is a surgical procedure in which a diseased organ or tissue is replaced with a healthy new organ or tissue. Most commonly transplanted organs are kidneys, liver, heart, lungs, pancreas, and intestine. Tissues replaced include bones, tendons, skin, heart valves, nerves, veins, and cornea.
Transplant helps most of the patients to enjoy good quality of life. However, there are certain challenges such patients are likely to face. This article guides you on how to get back to life after a transplant.
1) Take medications
The most important medications you should be taking after a transplant surgery are the anti-rejection medications which are immunosuppressant drugs. You may have to take them for your whole life after the transplant. Your health care team will suggest you if any change in the dose of these medications is required or if you have to switch to another medicine over a period.
Along with anti-rejection medicines, you may have to take other medications to prevent the side effects of anti-rejection drugs or for your other health conditions. Therefore, do not ignore taking any of the prescribed drugs as per the schedule.
2) Get regularly screened
In the initial days after the transplant, it is quite important to assess the function of your newly transplanted organ or tissue. You will need more frequent checkups initially which may be less frequent later. Therefore, go for wellness checkups and health screenings as scheduled for you.
3) Call your doctor
You may need a doctor’s help in certain instances during which you should call up for help.
If you notice any side effects associated with medications such as hair loss, unusual hair growth, acne, weight gain, and mood swings, etc., you should inform your doctor. Your doctor may change the dose of your medications to reduce these side effects.
You may also experience certain other side effects such as high blood pressure, diarrhea, infection, and increase in blood sugar levels or cholesterol levels. Contact your doctor for help in such situations.
4) Monitor yourself at home
You may be instructed to monitor your blood pressure, glucose, weight, pulse and cholesterol which you should strictly follow.
Inform your doctor if:
- you gain about 2 pounds in a day or a total of 5 pounds
- your temperature is too high
- your pulse rate is more than the normal i.e. 60-100 beats per minute
- your blood glucose levels are high
5) Eat nutritious diet
Your dietician will provide you instructions on the type of food you need to take. It may include:
- High-protein foods such as fish, eggs, beans, unsalted nuts, lean meat, etc.
- High-fiber foods such as fruits and vegetables
- High calcium foods and supplements
- Drinking plenty of water unless instructed to limit
- Avoiding processed foods or snacks
- Limiting your salt intake
- Avoiding frying of the food; instead take grilled, boiled or steamed food
Together with healthy eating and taking medications as scheduled, you need to do regular exercise to be healthy after a transplant. You should start low-impact exercises such as walking. Gradually you can start with exercises such as jogging, cycling, swimming, and etc. Stretching exercises can increase your flexibility. Exercise will help you to overcome the transplant-related stress as well.
Based on your age and overall physical condition, your doctor will recommend exercises suitable for you. Strictly follow the instructions.
Following the above tips can help you in a timely recovery from a transplant surgery. It will also help you to manage your health better after the surgery.