Health Conditions To Watch Out For

No matter how long it’s been since your transplant surgery, it’s extremely important that you continue with tests and lab work as scheduled. High cholesterol and high blood pressure are common conditions you may face post transplant, and regular monitoring can go a long way to help reduce your risk.

High cholesterol

After a transplant, transplant recipients may develop high cholesterol. Also, some anti-rejection medications may contribute to increased cholesterol levels. If cholesterol levels get too high, blood vessels may become partially clogged and slow or block the flow of blood. This increases the risk of heart disease and stroke.

There are three main types of blood cholesterol or blood lipids: low-density lipoprotein (LDL), high-density lipoprotein (HDL), and triglycerides (TG).

  • LDLs (or the "bad" kind of blood lipids) are associated with your diet, how much you exercise, and your family history.
  • HDLs (or the “good” cholesterol) can help reduce potentially harmful fatty deposits in your arteries.
  • TGs are a type of fat (lipid) found in your blood. When you eat, your body converts any calories it doesn't need to use right away into triglycerides. Higher triglyceride levels may be associated with higher risks of heart disease and stroke.

Cholesterol Levels

Total Cholesterol Level
Less than 200 mg/dL Desirable
200 to 239 mg/dLBorderline High
240 mg/dL and aboveHigh

It’s important that you and your healthcare provider work to reduce risk factors for heart disease, including controlling cholesterol.

One way to reduce your risk is to limit foods that are high in saturated fat and cholesterol, which can raise your blood cholesterol to unhealthy levels.

High blood pressure

Some transplant recipients may also develop high blood pressure or hypertension because of their anti-rejection medications or family history. Ways to help increase cardiovascular health and control blood pressure are by:

  • Eating a low-salt, low-fat, high-fiber diet
  • Exercising
  • Not smoking
  • Managing your weight
  • Taking blood pressure-lowering medications