Learn more about living life after your kidney transplant.

A living donor kidney transplant offers life-changing benefits to both the recipient and living donor. Recipients can receive a transplant sooner, giving them the chance to live a longer, healthier life. Living donors can feel proud knowing they have saved another person’s life with this meaningful gift.

However, whether you’re a living donor or a kidney transplant recipient, you’re now living with only one kidney. So, it’s important to protect your single kidney by doing everything possible to stay healthy.

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Protecting Your Kidney After Transplant

Attend all follow-up appointments

If you just donated a kidney or received a kidney transplant, the first step to staying healthy and protecting your single kidney is to attend all follow-up appointments and meetings with your doctor. The goal of these appointments is to ensure your kidney is working properly.

In addition, you will need to take all prescribed medicines and carefully follow all instructions from your doctor.

Adopt a healthy lifestyle

A healthy lifestyle is important for everyone, but it’s even more important if you only have one kidney. Be sure to follow these tips:

  • Control your blood pressure. Uncontrolled high blood pressure can cause the arteries around your kidney to weaken and become narrow, according to the American Heart Association. When this happens, the arteries are unable to deliver enough blood to your kidney tissue. Following a low-sodium, healthy diet will help control your blood pressure.
  • Monitor your protein intake. Living with one kidney can make you more susceptible to proteinuria, a condition where too much protein leaks from your blood into your urine.  This can cause swelling in your ankles or abdomen. Talk to your doctor about how much protein you should be getting.
  • Avoid certain over-the-counter medicines. Some commonly used medicines can be damaging to your kidney, according to the National Kidney Foundation, so it’s important to talk to your doctor before taking any new medicine.

In addition, exercising regularly and monitoring your weight can help prevent high blood pressure.

As a living kidney recipient, you’ve been given an incredible gift. As a living kidney donor, you’ve had a profound impact on someone’s life. It’s important to protect and appreciate your single kidney. Learn more about living with only one kidney.


Editor's Note: This article was originally published on , and was last reviewed on .

About Transplant Services

For more than four decades, UPMC Transplant Services has been a leader in organ transplantation. Our clinicians have performed more than 20,000 organ transplant procedures, making UPMC one of the foremost organ transplant centers in the world. We are home to some of the world’s foremost transplant experts and take on some of the most challenging cases. Through research, we have developed new therapies that provide our patients better outcomes — so organ recipients can enjoy better health with fewer restrictions. Above all, we are committed to providing compassionate, complete care that can change – and save – our patients’ lives. Visit our website to find a provider near you.