Kidney damage caused by diabetes is known as diabetic nephropathy and chances of survival in this disease are slim. In this article, I will tell about the several ways to combat kidney damage.
Obviously, the easiest option is to use dialysis. However, dialysis is not much effective and the chances of survival are slim, as proved by recent researches. Of those who chose to have dialysis, only about one-third of them are alive after five years. A better and more effective way is kidney transplant. The chance of survival in case of kidney transplant seems better than dialysis. Of chose who chose to have kidney transplant, about 90% of them are still alive even after five years.
Unfortunately, it is not easy to get kidney donors. The number of kidney donors is pretty less than the number of diabetic nephropathy patients. Therefore it is not easy to find donors quickly. Often you may have to wait for months or years before you can have a kidney transplant. In the meantime, you will be kept on dialysis.
When you do get a new kidney from a donor, there are additional problems as well. Our body, by nature, doesn’t accept foreign parts as its own. In fact it uses a complex algorithm to distinguish between its own parts and foreign parts. So, if you want to use someone else’s kidney as your own, you will need to fool your body into believing that the foreign kidney is in fact its own. For this reason, doctors try their best to match the donor and the recipient for a blood protein type called human leukocyte antigen (HLA). A good HLA match is necessary to fool the body into accepting the donor’s kidney, especially if the donor is still alive.
Most of the kidney transplants are successful; however a few transplants do go wrong. Even if your kidney transplant is successful, you are not done yet. As I said above, your body needs to accept the foreign kidney as its own. Because if it doesn’t accept the foreign kidney and attacks it, then you are doomed. In order to fool the body into accepting the organ, doctors suppress the immune system of the body by prescribing immunosuppressant drugs such as azathioprine and cyclosporine. While these drugs are good in that they prevent the body from noticing the foreign organ, the downside is that since your immune system becomes weak, you can fall sick easily and frequently. Immunosuppressants have other side-effects as well.
Further, it should be noted that a kidney transplant doesn’t cure diabetes. Which means that diabetes can damage the new organ as it had damaged the old one. The only solace is that since it took many years for the old kidney to get damaged, the new kidney would also take that many years before it needs to get replaced.
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