As you start to feel better after your transplant, you may be struck by the sudden return of your appetite. After being sick for a while, it can be a great feeling. For the first time in ages, you really enjoy eating again.
But as great as that feeling is, eating a lot has that well-known downside: weight gain. And unfortunately, the steroids that you're taking can both boost your appetite and make it harder for your body to use carbohydrates. The result can be excess fat.
Living with a chronic illness like type 2 diabetes can seem overwhelming at times. Sometimes you might feel that no one understands the stress that you feel day after day. If prolonged, these overwhelming feelings of anxiety, stress, and isolation can become a barricade in your quest for wellness.
It does not have to be this way. You must seek support to maintain control of your type 2 diabetes and to enjoy your life to the fullest. Whether your main support comes from your spouse, a close friend,...
Experts say that weight gain is common among transplant patients. And while keeping a healthy weight is important for everyone, it's especially important after you've had a transplant. Keeping a healthy weight lowers your risk of heart disease, high blood pressure, and diabetes.
How to Eat After an Organ Transplant
There is no magical "Transplant Diet." In general, you should just eat the kind of diet that would be healthy for anyone. It should be low in fat and sugar and high in complex carbohydrates such as cereals, vegetables, and grains. Of course, it all depends on your individual case. You may need to take special precautions. Stick to the diet your doctor recommends.
In many cases, eating is a lot simpler after a transplant. For instance, before getting a kidney transplant, people often have to avoid foods with high magnesium and phosphorous as well as follow strict fluid restrictions. After a transplant, many of these restrictions can be lifted. People can then eat a normal diet.
Avoiding Unwanted Weight Gain
So how do you stay healthy and avoid gaining weight after an organ transplant? These suggestions from transplant experts can help:
Talk to your health care team. Consulting with a dietician, even before the transplant, can be very helpful. Doing so can help you plan how to eat without risking your new health status.
Stay away from fad diets. It's best to avoid diets you read about in magazines or hear about on TV. Instead, focus on the basics. Don't think of your new eating plan as going on a diet. Think of it as making sensible changes to the way you eat that you can live with permanently.
Resist temptation at the grocery store. If you try to buy healthy foods at the grocery store, you only need to exercise your willpower once a week instead of everyday. If you don't have doughnuts and cookies at home, you can't be tempted to eat them.
Drink plenty of water. This is advisable as long as your doctor says you don't have to control the amount of fluids you drink.
Try healthier ways of cooking. Instead of frying, try baking, broiling, grilling, or steaming foods.
Pay attention to portion size. Keep in mind that restaurants often serve enormous portions. Don't eat the whole thing. Instead, cut it in half and eat the rest for lunch the next day.
Read food labels. Take note of what's in the foods you buy. Watch for the amount of fat, salt, and calories.
Watch out for interactions. Make sure you know if any of your medicines interact with any foods you might eat. For instance, some medications used to suppress your immune system can interact with grapefruit juice.
Barry Friedman, RN, former president of the North American Transplant Coordinators Organization.
Richard Perez, MD, PhD, Department of Surgery, University of California Medical Center at Davis.
Jeffrey D. Punch, MD, University of Michigan Health System, Ann Arbor.
National Kidney Foundation.
United Network for Organ Sharing.
United Network for Organ Sharing's "Transplant Living" web site.
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services: "Partnering with Your Transplant Team."
Get the latest Diabetes newsletter delivered to your inbox!
Your level is currently
If the level is below 70 or you are experiencing symptoms such as shaking, sweating or difficulty thinking, you will need to raise the number immediately. A quick solution is to eat a few pieces of hard candy or 1 tablespoon of sugar or honey. Recheck your numbers again in 15 minutes to see if the number has gone up. If not, repeat the steps above or call your doctor.
People who experience hypoglycemia several times in a week should call their health care provider. It's important to monitor your levels each day so you can make sure your numbers are within the range. If you are pregnant always consult with your health care provider.
Congratulations on taking steps to manage your health.
However, it's important to continue to track your numbers so that you can make lifestyle changes if needed. If you are pregnant always consult with your physician.
Your level is high if this reading was taken before eating. Aim for 70-130 before meals and less than 180 two hours after meals.
Even if your number is high, it's not too late for you to take control of your health and lower your blood sugar.
One of the first steps is to monitor your levels each day. If you are pregnant always consult with your physician.
Thank you for signing up for the WebMD Diabetes Newsletter!
You'll find tips and tricks as well as the latest news and research on Diabetes.
Did You Know Your Lifestyle Choices
Affect Your Blood Sugar?
Use the Blood Glucose Tracker to monitor
how well you manage your blood sugar over time.