Nutrition and Transplant

Once you have had an organ transplant, changes may need to be made to your pre-transplant diet. Post-transplant medications such as steroids, cyclosporine, tacrolimus, azathioprine and mycophenolate can affect your diet by increasing blood levels of cholesterol, triglycerides, sugars and blood pressure. High doses of steroids break down muscle tissue so it is important that after your transplant your protein intake is higher than normal, as protein is essential in the rebuilding process. For most transplant recipients it is important to decrease your intake of salt to maintain a healthy blood pressure. After a transplant you are at a higher risk for bone loss, so make sure to get at least 2 servings of dairy a day. Most people have an increased appetite after their transplant and may gain weight; it is important to control your weight and your calorie intake to help prevent heart disease, diabetes and high blood pressure.

Try to avoid “hydrogenated” and “partially hydrogenated” foods as well as foods that are fried or high in fat in order to keep your blood fat levels low. Try to incorporate complex carbohydrates such as whole grains and pasta into your diet, while avoiding simple carbohydrates such as sugar and soda. For individuals on steroids, it is hard for the body to process excess carbohydrates, which can lead to high blood sugar and possibly diabetes. If you have diabetes, work with a doctor and registered dietician to control your blood sugar levels.

It is important that with the help of your doctor and dietitian you set up an exercise and diet program that works best for you and your body.

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