The one time most people consider being an organ donor is when they’re in line at the DMV waiting to get their license renewed. But perhaps that consideration should begin earlier – at a doctor’s check-up or even at the gym – because more and more people are now being turned away for organ donation because of their weight.
The rise in obesity rates has done more than just cause people to consider their weight, it’s also sparked a growing effort on behalf of transplant centers to pay closer attention to the health of potential donors who are obese.
According to a recent article from the New York Times, at the current time there is no definitive donor weight limit, however, around half of transplant centers cap donor BMI at 35, and 10 percent turn down donors with BMIs more than 30. This is because obese donors not only have a higher risk for minor surgical complications, but they’re also put at an increased risk of kidney disease in the years following the surgery.
While no in-depth research has been done on the health of obese patients post-donation, doctors fear that obese donors who supply a kidney may be putting their one remaining kidney at risk of being overworked, which is why they’re left a greater risk for kidney disease.
For an example of the severity of this issue, national data suggests that there are currently 92,000 people nationwide waiting for a kidney transplant, and that kidney disease is on the rise in part due to diabetes and hypertension linked to obesity.
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