Thousands of Americans are waiting for kidney donations that could make the difference between life and death. There are lots of reasons why so many are waiting…mainly too few donors and problems finding a match. But there's something else that is keeping the donor pool from growing like it should be. Millions of Americans who would like to donate are getting turned away because they weigh too much. Obesity is a major risk factor for chronic illnesses that can lead to kidney disease. If you donate one kidney, and you're obese with just one kidney left, you could be asking for trouble.
Dr. Matthew Cooper said, "Obesity in organ donors is quite dangerous." "If we're in fact making dangerous decisions and/or not using our best judgments and end up creating the next group of folks who are going to need kidney transplants then we're really not serving the population."
Dr. Cooper is the Director of Kidney Transplantation at MedStar Georgetown University Hospital. He says right now there is no national weight limit for donors. But more and more hospitals are starting to require donors to have a body mass index under 35, which would bring in more lean, healthy donors.
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