It’s important to realize that life after a transplant may not be exactly the same as life before a transplant. You may need to adjust your expectations along the way.
Some potential challenges beyond year 1 include:
As always, you may want to talk to your healthcare provider or transplant team when issues arise. They are there for you every step of the way.
Transplantation is a lifelong commitment. Your healthcare provider will likely require that you continue to take your medicines as prescribed.
As the years pass following your transplant surgery, your healthcare provider may recommend that you continue a healthy diet and follow a program of regular exercise. It’s most important that you stay the course. Be sure to talk to your healthcare provider before beginning any exercise program.
Long-term use of certain medicines can cause other health issues. It is important to know the risks so you can take measures to help prevent them and recognize early warning signs.
Reduced bone health is a common problem in the years after a transplant. When your bone health is reduced, you're at increased risk for osteoporosis, a disease in which your bones become weak and brittle. If left untreated, osteoporosis can lead to fractures or tiny breaks commonly found in your spine, hips, and wrists.
Talk to your healthcare provider about your risk for post-transplant osteoporosis and treatments to help protect your bone strength.
The risk of skin cancer is increased after a transplant. The 2 most common types of skin cancer are shown below.
Squamous cell carcinoma
This is the second most common type of skin cancer in the United States. It appears as a crusted or scaly area of the skin.
Basal cell carcinoma
The most common type of skin cancer in the United States is basal cell carcinoma. It often appears as a white or pink bump or growth. It is commonly described as a sore that does not heal or bleeds easily.
These types of skin cancer lesions are generally seen in sun-exposed areas such as the face, neck, arms, hands, and ears. Any unusual lesions should be examined by your healthcare provider or a dermatologist. You may want to have a dermatologist check your moles yearly to make sure everything is okay.
Some medicines can increase your cholesterol, blood pressure, or blood sugar.