Too Old For Transplant?: I am 65 years old... - Kidney Disease

Kidney Disease
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Too Old For Transplant?

I am 65 years old and am considering seeing if I can find a family member willing to donate a kidney but am I too old?

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depends on your health and the donors health..that has more to do with it than age...

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Hi,

What an interesting question...am I too old? I have thought about the very same question a lot. I do not have anyone lining up to donate for me. But I am not sure I would even try to get one at this point. I don't know. At what age are we valuable? How much of life do I have left? Do I take a kidney that might have been able to save a young teenager? What if that teenager turns out to be a murderer, and not something noble, like a doctor? I think too much, don't I?

It actually all boils down to if it is even possible, and for me, it really isn't because: I AM TOO FAT. That's what I was told. So before I go off on that rant...

I would say to you VE, if someone is offering and your health would allow it.... go for it and good luck to you.

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I know. I am not even on dialysis yet! Just wondered at this point.

My GFR is 41.

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Hi VE,

I hope you know that with a GFR of 41, you may never reach the need for either transplant or dialysis. Have you seen a renal dietician? By changing up your diet to a kidney friendly diet, no smoking, lose weight if need be, control BP and diabetes, you can often maintain the current GFR for a very, very long time. Let us know if you would like further information.

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GFR 41? I think you are jumping the gun. 41 is pretty darn decent for a 65 year old. I would definitely be researching ways to maintain your good GFR. Exercise or just staying active is so important for people our age. I just turned 64 and I have been on the transplant list since 2015. Unfortunately, I had no clue I had kidney disease until I was diagnosed and my GFR was 21 (I knew I was ill, but had no insurance at the time). I maintained my CKD4 status for 3 years, but now I am on dialysis (PD at home).

Good luck to you. Research CKD diets on davita.com to get ideas of how to eat healthier for your kidneys' sake.

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Hi, Bassetmommer

This is exactly my thinking. I'm a young 64 (I tell myself) but retired, single, childless - no one relies on me. Should I take a kidney that could go to someone with a family, a career?

Is this wrong thinking?

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HI Sphynxgirl,

NO, it is not wrong, it is selfless.

BUT....who is to say that taking a kidney is not our destiny? At this age, retired, and empty nested, grand-childless and will be so forever, has my time been?

I do not feel my life is over in any manner. I feel that this is my time to educate, support, and volunteer for all sorts of things in my town and for CKD. These are acts that I have always wanted to do, but working crazy hours, could not. I sit on multiple Boards and committees all volunteer now. So who is it to say that something I do now might not save another life or contribute to the well-being of the earth in some manner?

Still, I have not signed up for a transplant list but I might if my GFR goes down.

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I was 62 when I received my transplant from an unrelated lady involved in a fatal car accident. My GFR had sunk to 8, as I recall. I was diagnosed with kidney failure at age 39. I completely changed my diet to restrict protein and sodium, and I had a strict exercise routine (not heavy exercise, but regular at least 5 days a week).

I am now 78 plus and my creatinine hovers around 0.9 +\-. I have been very fortunate, but I worked hard at maintaining my health and activity. You should talk to your nephrologist about your situation and the outlook for a transplant. I actually did know a fellow transplant patient who received a “second tier” kidney at age 85. He lived many years in good health.

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Wow thanks. Would you be comfortable telling me how much sodium and protein a day you have or do you keep up with it on a daily basis?

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VE7590TH, I don’t keep track of my protein now, but I still eat a lot of vegetables and go very light on meats, mostly fish and chicken. I never add salt to food and I check my blood labs every 6 weeks and keep my sodium at very low normal. There are several diet websites to which the ambassadors on this site can refer you.

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Let me share with you something that I learned being a Nutritionist in the Pet Food Industry. As animals age, such as dogs and cats, they require a lot less protein in their diet in order to maintain healthy kidneys. The kidneys start to slow their ability to process or filter the protein nutrients, and the unfiltered protein matter will stay in the bloodstream and it can cause toxicity after awhile. If you have a pet and happen to look at the ingredient label for senior pet food, you will notice that the protein is much lower than it is in the puppy or the adult formulas. I figured that that really is about the same theory as with humans. This is just my opinion and information I received when I worked as a pet food nutrition specialist.

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Dear SaraEads,

I find your story quite encouraging and interesting... u had a failure at 39 And had a transplant at 62. How did u manage it from 39 to 62 before u now had the transplantation? Am currently at GFR 12 and trying my best to avoid dialysis and delay transplant as long as possible. Any advise or tips u can share from your experience?

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Look at the Natural Kidney Journey pages. Their way is very strict, but they have brought people back from dialysis.

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Bolingo, it was not as recognized in 1980, or my health professionals did not recommend it at least, but I chose to go on a strict veggie diet ( not vegan ) and got a low protein diet from beans, et al and veggies with plant protein. I, also, cut back on how much food I was eating and gave up most sweets. I still remember the taste of the first chocolate milkshake I had after my transplant.

I even found a bakery that would make sodium free bread. Even today I restrict sodium, never adding salt in cooking or to food and I check my blood labs every 6 weeks, paying particular attention to sodium. I was on dialysis for 2 1/2 years so I empathize with your point in time.

Don’t forget to keep up exercise.

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Thank you. Will keep up the veggies and plant proteins

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Please don’t think you are too old to receive a transplant. Let the Transplant Center’s evaluation team make the determination as to whether you will be a good candidate for a transplant based on the various factors they consider in completing the evaluation. Age alone is not a determinative factor.

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Thank you all so much

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Decision rests solely with the transplant team.

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I know several people in their late 60's that have just been evaluated for a transplant and were put on the list for a kidney. I know you can't help but think of some of the questions that Bassetmommer brought up, but this is how the transplant center tells you NOT to think. When I got the call for my transplant, the transplant center kept telling me "....it was a kidney for me." It of course was a match to my blood type, but also matched tissue, 4/6 match. My deceased donor was only 16 years old.

I believe that you would be smart to be referred to a transplant center for an appt to be evaluated for a transplant. That's the first step. If you are healthy enough for a transplant, then you could pursue others offering to be a living donor for you. AND 64 is NOT too old! But WHY would you not a transplant? I am living WELL at 19+ years post transplant.

Best of luck to you!

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Thank you so much!

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I am not sure there is a nephrologist in the world that would recommend you for transplant with a GFR of 41. Again, I think you should take the recommendation of exercising and reviewing your food choices. Having said that, my sister was a chaplain in a hospital and has seen people in their 70s receive transplants, so as others have identified, it is not as much a matter of age as it is a person's health. In the transplant world, that includes mental as well as physical health.

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I know. Just thinking ahead. Thanks!

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Hello - eight years ago at the age of 64 I gave my husband (age 65) a kidney. There are a lot of tests for the donor to do beforehand to make sure the donor is healthy enough to give a kidney. Likewise the recipient is evaluated. Best of luck.

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Your health & donors health are the point not age. My wife is 72 and in process of finalizing w/donor. She is also on list for a cadaver kidney. Good luck & thrive

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I'm 41 and will shortly need a transplant. I have two young children and a wife to somehow support. It's hard. But....i would not begrudge anyone going on the transplant list, regardless of age. People in their 60s have a lot to give. Many are grandparents that families rely on. Good luck to you. As others said I'd concentrate on maintaining as at 41 you can manage it with a combination of discipline and good luck.

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