Nutritional Preparation for Renal and Pancreatic Transplant
Good nutrition prior to transplantation impacts how quickly you recover from transplant surgery. Adequate calories, protein, vitamins and minerals are needed for proper wound healing and to build or maintain muscle.
During your pre-transplant workup, you will be assessed by a registered dietitian who will provide information about how you can prepare nutritionally for transplant. You may have other health concerns such as hypertension, diabetes or being overweight or underweight. A dietitian and the health care team will assist you in managing these issues.
How does better management of your health care issues help prepare you for transplant?
This may be a cause of your kidney failure. Good blood sugar control now helps predict better blood sugar management after transplant and reduces the risk of complications such as wound infections. Getting help from a diabetes specialist will help you prepare for and take care of your new kidney.
This may be a cause of your kidney failure. Managing fluids and sodium intake will help in controlling your blood pressure. Good blood pressure is vital to have healthy blood vessels and, if you are not on dialysis, it will help preserve your kidney function. A dietitian will help you choose foods that are low in sodium and how to read food labels.
Prior to transplant surgery, the transplant team will evaluate if you are at a healthy weight for your height. If you are overweight or obese, the surgery could be risky because wound healing is slower and the risk of infection is higher.
If you are underweight, then healing is also slower and infection is also higher because your protein stores may be deficient. Protein is vital to healing wounds and fighting infections.
After transplantation, some of the medications you will be taking have side effects that could affect your health; however, preparing for those side effects before your surgery can help prevent some of the complications that could arise.
Maintaining phosphorus levels.
You may be taking a phosphorus binder right now to keep your levels down. When your levels are high, then calcium is taken from your bones making them weak and brittle and over time can break more easily. It's important to keep your bones healthy now because after transplant some of the immunosuppressants can also make your bones weak.
Keeping your phosphorus at a normal level and incorporating weight-bearing exercise will help with your bone health. High levels of phosphorus may also cause calcium build up in your blood vessels, organs, joints, skin and muscles and could lead to organ damage, poor blood flow, skin ulcers and bone pain.
A dietitian can help you choose lower phosphorus foods, and with physician approval, can provide information on activity or direct you to resources to find more information about exercise.
Managing cardiovascular disease.
Some immunosuppressant medications can raise your blood pressure, cholesterol and triglycerides (fat floating in your blood), and this can lead to cardiovascular disease. Incorporating a heart-healthy diet now will help prevent the progression of heart disease.
By taking care of yourself nutritionally prior to surgery, you will be stronger and healthier for your transplant so that you can heal properly and quickly.