Question: What Is The Role Of Kidney Transplantation In The Treatment Of Diabetes?
Answer: Compared to dialysis, kidney transplantation is clearly the treatment of choice. Kidney transplantation does carry with it some complications, but the benefits clearly outweigh the complications.
The benefits are: you live twice as long than on dialysis and hopefully you live happier with the transplant than on dialysis.
The complications, unfortunately, are immune-suppressing medications that you are forced to take daily for the rest of the life span of that kidney transplant, and the fact that there are complications that can occur from those medications as well as from your body being suppressed from an immune response. So infections are more common; some types of cancers are more common; and sometimes blood pressure problems, high cholesterol, and gastrointestinal side effects can occur.
However, these are by far minimized and trivialized compared to the immense benefits kidney transplantation really offers patients with diabetes. And thus it's critical that every patient with diabetes actually considers and discusses this with their physician if their kidney function is deteriorating in any degree.
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