Donating kidneys can be hazardous to the health of African Americans.

By: Taren Vaughan

Like any other organ in your body, your kidneys are vital to one’s overall health. Unlike your heart, everyone is equipped with two of them and a number of people out here are surviving with just one alone. Because of this, hundreds of organ donors all over the world have sacrificed their kidneys to loved ones or total strangers that they have never laid eyes on. Giving your kidney to someone in need of it is something that numerous individuals out there hope to do. A waiting recipient would be more than happy to know that someone is willing to give up their kidney, hopefully resulting in a better life for them. But unfortunately, everyone that wants to donate a kidney is not able to or may suffer lasting health problems after doing so. And African Americans are the individuals that tend to fall into this category.

Of course, there is no major difference in kidneys when it comes to race as far as function and size is concerned. So why is it that black donors are more susceptible to having more health problems than whites?

For one, a vast majority of African Americans already have multiple health problems like diabetes and high blood pressure. They are 52 percent more likely to develop these conditions and diseases along with other health issues surrounding the kidneys than white donors are. So removing a kidney could potentially add to blacks’ current health issues. Not to mention that obesity is most definitely familiar territory when it comes to African Americans as well.

Dr. Krista Lentine from the Saint Louis University School of Medicine says that these statistics are not to scare African Americans or any other race for that matter from continuing to donate kidneys:

“We are not proposing any change to donor selection policy based on these data, and do not believe that race and ethnicity should be used to discourage anyone from stepping forward for potential donor evaluation”

Donating a kidney is such a selfless act. And to think that doing so could put your own health into danger can scare people from performing this act of kindness. Yes, it’s true that you can live with just one kidney. But once a person is down to a single kidney, they must be extra careful about the activities that they engage in. And for many of us, our current state of health will not permit us to give one of them to a person who needs it.

Source: The Washington Informer

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