Living After a Transplant

Support Throughout Your Recovery

After your transplant, you will usually stay in the hospital for three to five days to recover. Your transplant team will carefully watch your recovery process during your stay in the hospital.

Exercise After Your Kidney Transplant

After your kidney transplant, you should make exercise a regular part of your life and continue to improve your health and fitness.

Your treatment team may work with you to set up a routine exercise program to meet your unique needs. Immediately after your transplant, you should walk as much as you can tolerate. Refrain from lifting more than five to seven pounds during the first four to six weeks after your transplant. Your doctor will recommend that you participate in 30 minutes of moderate exercise (brisk walking) every day, for five days a week. Walking, bicycling, low-impact strength training, or other activities may help you improve your health.

Exercising regularly helps you control your weight, strengthen your bones and muscles, improve your physical functioning, and increase your energy. However, if you feel dizzy or short of breath, or if you experience other symptoms while working out, you should stop exercising. Discuss your symptoms with your doctor and treatment team before you begin exercising again.

Diet and Nutrition

After your kidney transplant, you may need to adjust your diet to keep your kidney healthy and functioning well. You will have fewer dietary restrictions than you had while receiving dialysis therapy. However, you still may need to make some dietary changes after the transplant. Your nutrition specialist (dietitian) and other members of your treatment team will work with you to create a healthy eating plan that meets your needs and complements your lifestyle.

Your medications may change your appetite. You may need to keep track of how many calories you consume or limit foods high in sugar and fat. Your dietitian will develop an eating plan for you that will include the number of calories you should eat each day to maintain a healthy weight.

Your dietitian will also provide you with several healthy food options and ideas to use in your eating plan. Your dietitian's recommendations may include:

  • Eating at least five servings of fruits and vegetables each day
  • Avoiding grapefruit and grapefruit juice due to its effect on a group of immunosuppression medications (calcineurin inhibitors)
  • Having enough fiber in your daily diet
  • Drinking low-fat milk or eating other low-fat dairy products, which is important to maintain optimal calcium and phosphorus levels
  • Eating lean meats, poultry and fish
  • Maintaining a low-salt and low-fat diet
  • Following food safety guidelines
  • Staying hydrated by drinking adequate water and other fluids each day

In addition, discuss with your transplant doctor if you are taking any over-the-counter medications, vitamins or herbal supplements. Also, notify the transplant physician before starting any new prescription medicines.

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