Are some people waiting longer than others for organ transplants?
Despite gender, age or race, organ donation is important and can help save lives. However, what some may fail to realize is that donation is especially important and needed from and for ethnic minorities, such as African Americans, Hispanics and Asians.
“Patients from these communities are more likely to need an organ transplant in their lifetime,” explains Dr. Deepak Mital, a kidney transplant surgeon at Advocate Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn, Ill. “Because these communities are at a greater risk for illnesses like diabetes and hypertension, they are also at a greater risk for organ failure.”
For this reason, organ donations from ethnic minorities are often needed above others. While anyone can receive a donation from any ethnicity, Dr. Mital says blood types are most common within the same ethnicity and that some transplant recipients, for example, bone marrow recipients, are more likely to find a match from someone who is from the same ethnic background.
As of April 2018, there are more than 114,000 candidates for transplant on the U.S. national waiting list, and almost 70,000 people – which account for 58 percent – on the list are ethnic minorities, according to organdonor.gov.
According to the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services:
- All people over the age of 18 can become a registered organ donor, and in many states, even those under the age of 18 can become a donor with family consent.
- Some organs, such as the kidney, part of the liver, lung, pancreas, tissue or part of the intestine can be donated while you’re still alive. This is called a living donation, or living donor.
- The health of your organs is more important than your age. Senior citizens in their 90s have donated organs.
- Even if you have a health condition, your organs or tissue still may be healthy enough to be donated.
Click here to become a registered organ donor.
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health enews staff is a group of experienced writers from our Advocate Health Care sites, also including freelance or intern writers.