Close to 6,000 people gave gift of life last year

Last year, close to 6,000 people in the United States saved someone’s life by becoming living kidney donors. With nearly 100,000 people on the kidney transplant waiting list, every person who chooses to become a living donor is saving the life of someone who otherwise might have to wait years for a kidney, if they are lucky enough to have a transplant at all. Twenty people die each day while waiting for an organ transplant, and kidney disease kills more people each year than breast cancer or prostate cancer.

Living kidney donation is possible because people need only one healthy kidney to live. Research has shown that kidneys from living donors last longer than transplants from deceased donors. On average, kidneys from living donors last 15-20 years, and kidneys from deceased donors last 10-15 years.

A successful kidney transplant depends on how healthy the patient is before the transplant, how the patient takes care of themselves after the transplant, and closely following doctors’ orders after the transplant.

Kidney transplant is often the best treatment option for people battling kidney failure because it increases their chances of living longer, healthier lives.

There are three types of living donor kidney transplants: directed donation, non-directed donation, and paired donation.

In directed donation, the kidney donor gives the kidney to a person they have chosen, often a friend, relative or co-worker. In non-directed donation, sometimes called altruistic donation, the donor gives a kidney to a stranger.

Paired kidney exchanges are becoming increasingly common, making transplant possible for more people. It used to be that if a living donor wasn’t a good match for a recipient, the recipient would have to keep looking for a match. In a paired exchange, the donor/recipient pair exchange kidneys with another donor/recipient pair.

The American Kidney Fund (AKF) is the nation’s leading non-profit working on behalf of the 30 million Americans with kidney disease. AKF provides a complete spectrum of program and services, including top-rated health educational resources.

AKF can help you learn more about living donor transplants. AKF is also a top-rated resource for information on kidney disease, clinical research, and efforts to fight for kidney patients and living donors’ rights.

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