NHM Health Focus:
Minority Organ Donation & Transplantation
Tips For A Healthier Lifestyle
Minority Organ Tissue Transplant Education Program Prevention Tips. Used with permission.
- Have your blood pressure checked at least
twice per year after age 12
- Diabetics should have blood pressure checked
regularly and follow diet and exercise instructions
- Avoid alcoholic beverages to help prevent
- Avoid use of illegal drugs such as marijuana,
heroin and cocaine which cause liver disease and kidney failure
- Avoid smoking cigarettes which can lead to
heart and lung disease
- Avoid foods high in cholesterol and saturated
fats such as fried foods which can clog the arteries
- Establish a regular exercise routine which
should be performed at least three times per week
- Visit your doctor at least once per year for
National Minority Donor Awareness Day occurs every year on August 1, but the importance of the subject
is such that it is promoted throughout the month and the year.
Donor Awareness events promote healthy living and
disease prevention as they underscore the need for people to sign donor
cards and have discussions with their families about their wishes to
become donors. Public events are held throughout the year to encourage people to come together to increase awareness of the need for more tissue
and organ donations and to promote lifestyle changes that will reduce
the need for such donations.
One of the larger events was held July 25, 2009 in Detroit. Families and friends at Life
Walk shared food, fun and the message that "one can extend
life through organ and tissue donation
one step at a time."
The United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS)
reports more than 102,000
individuals are awaiting organ transplants. Of these individuals,
more than half are African American, Hispanic, or Asian. More
than 30,000 individuals will wait more than three years before an appropriate
donor is found; many will die before an organ becomes available.
Health lifestyle choices have been shown to reduce the need for transplantation.
Diabetes, high blood pressure, alcohol and substance abuse, poor nutrition
and lack of exercise are among the behaviors and diseases that increase
the need for transplantation. For more information on transplantation
prevention please visit OrganDonor.gov
Other sources of transplantation prevention information include:
Decreasing the gap between the need for organs and number of organs
available also depends upon increasing the number of donors, especially
the number of minority donors. Individuals with similar ethnic backgrounds
are more likely to have compatible tissue matches making donation and
transplantation possible. Organ and tissue donation is a family decision.
Potential donors are urged to make
their wishes known in writing to the members of their family. It
is easier for family members to carry out the wishes of a loved one
if they know what those wishes are.
Education programs such those offered by the National Minority Organ
Tissue Transplant Education Program (National
MOTTEP) have increased minority donations and transplantations,
but more is needed to close the gap. It will be even better if the number
of transplants needed can be reduced.
Related resources on Access Excellence @ the National Health Museum
Resource Center: Virtual Labs - Operation: Heart Transplant or How to Transplant a Heart in Nineteen Easy Steps
(from PBS. Shockwave required.)
Let's Collaborate: Science Education Reform - Why Teach Bioethics in the Classroom?
Activities Exchange: Classic Collection - The Heart and Circulatory System
Activities Exchange: Classic Collection - Heart Activities
What's News: Newsmaker Interviews - State of the Art in Artificial Hearts
Health Headquarters: Health Focus - Organ Donation
Health Headquarters: Health Focus - Celebrating 55 Years of Transplantation