One can involve in most activities and sports after the first few months of transplantation. Exercise is recommended for people after transplantation. Problems with health vary in every individual, so one must discuss first with doctors.
Because the kidney transplant is very close to the skin, sports which involve contact are not advised because of the risk of injury to the transplant. Examples include Rugby and martial arts combat sports. It is difficult to wear a guard to protect the kidney against injury.
For a professional sportsperson, it is possible to adapt to the transplant operation so the kidney is located deep inside the body, but this makes it difficult to perform a biopsy test for possible rejection so would not usually be recommended unless someone is relied on the sport for their bread and butter.
Keep a regular Check on your blood results, because it is common to have high potassium levels for few weeks after a transplant. It is therefore not advised to continue all those tomatoes and chocolate cakes with coffee.
Weight gain occurs in most patients after transplant, as it is common to be underweight on dialysis. However, the risk for gaining weight is high, it is important to watch what you eat right from the beginning. It is easier to avoid putting weight on than to lose it.
Kidney Transplant Diet Facts & Queries
Do I need to be on a special diet after renal transplant surgery?
Yes. Your diet plays a big role in managing your health after an organ transplant. If you were on dialysis and had a kidney transplant, you may find this diet after Transplant a bit easier to follow than the one you were following for dialysis.
Why is diet so important after a transplant?
Proper nutrition & health will reduce the risk of infection and rejection of kidney, although many factors may impact this. A registered dietitian or medical practitioner will help you plan a healthy diet that fits your lifestyle .Immediately after transplant, you need to follow a kidney diet until your transplanted kidney is functioning properly.
What do I eat after transplant?
The diet is a well-balanced one, consisting of lean protein, low-fat dairy products, fruits, vegetables, and a variety of grains.
• Phosphorous and Calcium
As the new kidney function, your body again builds bone mass that might have been lost during renal failure. While the bones are busy gaining strength, the blood phosphorous levels could drop. The dietitian and/or doctor will advise you to eat foods with high phosphorous content , such as low-fat dairy products and dried beans. Your doctor might also suggest phosphorous pills. Some transplant medications may reduce your calcium levels, so you may require a calcium supplement as well .
Potassium should be avoided for the first four to six weeks after transplant. Afterwards, if your kidneys are functioning well, you should be able to take in normal amounts of potassium. However, some transplant medications might vary your potassium level and your doctor may recommend some changes in your dietary potassium levels. High potassium food are oranges, bananas, tomato sauce, dairy products, nuts and salt substitute.
Many people will need a low sodium diet after transplant. Transplant medications results in fluid retention and high blood pressure. Salt makes this condition worse. Controlling hypertension is very important for your transplant. Your doctor will decide on how much sodium suits you.
Once your new kidney starts functioning in the body, there is no need of fluid restriction. After the transplant procedure you may develop dehydration, so drink plenty of fluid content every day.
A low fat diet is must for maintaining a healthy weight and preventing cardiovascular disease. The American Heart Association recommends limiting total fat calories to less than 30%. That is about 65 grams of fat or less per day if you consume 2,000 calories a day.
Do I need more or less protein?
Immediately after your transplant, you will require a high protein diet (8 to 10 oz of protein daily). Good sources of protein include lean meat, fish and eggs. Dialysis patients will need the same amount of protein after transplant than they did during dialysis. Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD) patients who were not on dialysis will definitely require more protein following transplant. Protein is important for healing and provides strength. High doses of steroids can cause muscle breakdown, making adequate protein intake even more difficult. Eventually you will be able to return to a normal protein intake daily.
What about nutrition supplements?
Some of the anti-rejection medications taken after transplant can cause loss of some crucial & essential vitamins and minerals. A daily multivitamin with minerals is recommended in such case. Do not consume vitamins with added herbal additives. Your doctor may prescribe phosphorus supplements if your blood phosphorous level is on a lower side. Many patients also will require a calcium supplement to encourage healthy bone growth. If you are prescribed cyclosporine, you might require a magnesium supplement as well.
How does the transplant diet help?
Although newly transplanted kidney means that you no longer need dialysis, it is still prone to damage. By controlling the factors that lead to kidney failure, it is possible to reduce the chances of kidney damage. A balanced diet full of healthy foods will keep you healthy and strong, reducing your chances of complications/ rejection. Your medical practitioner and dietitian will help you balance your post-transplant diet based on your lab reports, medications and how your new kidney is functioning.
Note: The above is for guidance only. Patients are advised to seek further information from their own doctor.
Reference: 1)The National Kidney Federation 2) http://www.med.umich.edu/pdf/kidney-transplant/Nutrition.pdf