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Giving The Gift of Life: 5 Organs That Can Be Donated

Binish Ahmed

By pledging to be an organ donor, one can save as many as 8 lives.

“We make a living by what we get; we make a life by what we give.”

Organ donation is a benevolent act. People who need organ transplants suffer from serious illnesses that have significantly impacted their quality of life. They may also be at the near end of their life. Getting an organ donation can be a life-changing experience for such people. By being an organ donor, you are literally giving the gift of life to someone.

If you’re curious about becoming an organ donor, let’s try to first understand why some people require organ transplants and which organs can be donated.

Why is organ transplantation important?

Organ transplantation is the only treatment for those who have end-stage organ failure. The process involves the removal of a healthy organ from a deceased person and transplanting it to a recipient who is the right match for the organ. The removal procedure must follow all legal requirements such as consent from family members, and dealing with the entire procurement process respectfully. There are also cases where living persons can donate organs to save a life.  Organ donation is one of the biggest acts of selflessness and gives the recipient a renewed chance of living a fulfilling life.

The 5 most commonly donated organs

Kidneys
  • Kidneys take out the waste and excess water from the body and balance the body’s fluids
  • People that require a kidney transplant go for dialysis regularly to get rid of the excess toxins from their body, owing to their failed kidneys
  • Conditions like high blood pressure and diabetes are high-risk factors that may lead to kidney issues and the requirement of kidney transplantation
  • A successful kidney transplant can add  12-15 years to a recipient’s lifespan
  • Kidneys are the most commonly transplanted organs

Heart
  • The function of the heart is to pump oxygen-rich blood throughout the body
  • People who require a heart transplant suffer from heart failure, birth defects or cardiomyopathy
  • Experts say that the survival rate after a heart transplant in adults is more than 85% after 1 year and approximately 69% after 5 years
  • Heart transplants are performed in people with severe coronary artery disease when all other medical and surgical treatments have failed

Lungs
  • Lungs aid in respiration and in the transfer of life-giving oxygen into the bloodstream
  • People who require a lung transplant are often diagnosed with cystic fibrosis, COPD and pulmonary fibrosis
  • Living people can donate only a lobe of a lung
  • Study says that more than 80% of people survive after one year of transplantation

Liver
  • The liver is the largest gland in the body that is involved in numerous metabolic processes such as breakdown of fats, regulation of glycogen, storage of vitamins and minerals, etc.
  • Liver transplantation may be required in children who have birth and metabolic defects of the liver
  • The most common reason requiring liver transplantation in adults is liver cirrhosis
  • About 75% of people who receive a liver transplant have a high 5-year survival rate

Pancreas
  • The pancreas has two main functions: Helping in digestion and regulating blood sugar by producing insulin
  • Pancreatic transplant is often coupled with a kidney transplant in patients who are at a high risk of kidney damage
  • A pancreatic transplant is believed to have the potential to help cure type 1 insulin-dependent diabetes.

Other forms of organ donation include tissue and corneal (eye) donation.

By pledging to be an organ donor, one can save as many as 8 lives. One can become a symbol of hope to those who are waiting. Organ donation is a gift that anyone can give. It does not cost anything and gives the recipient hope of a happier and fulfilling life.  Are you an organ donor? Let us know in the comments below!

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