The Power of Donatable Organs

When I think of Organ Donation, I immediately think of the Heart. With over 36 million beats per year, it has got to be the only thing that anyone would need, right?

Wrong!

It turns out that you can actually change (or save!) someone’s life by donating other parts of your body as well! So before you get into your head that someone’s life would dramatically increase if they had 3 arms, below is a list of YOUR Donatable Organs.

Read up on YOUR Donatable Organs and understand how they can be used to save lives.

1. CORNEA

  • Transplant may prevent blindness
  • Transplant restores vision
  • This part channels light into eye
  • Swelling sometimes occurs after cataract surgery requiring transplant
  • This is the clear “window” you see the world
  • Through Keratanous can lead to the need for a transplant
  • Edema can occur due to Fuch’s Dystrophy resulting in the need for transplant
  • You have photophobia & haloes, particularly at night

The cornea is the clear window at the front of the eye which makes up 2/3 of the eye’s optic power. They help to channel light into the eye. It is the only living tissue in the body that does not contain any blood vessels. Your eyes blink over 10 million times a year. Corneal transplants are one of the most commonly performed and successful transplant surgeries in the United States today – approximately 40,000 each year.

2. SKIN TISSUE

  • Used to replace torn or damaged ligaments
  • Used to reconstruct injured joints
  • Natural barrier to infection
  • Serves as a biological bandage
  • Helps maintain body temperature and fluids
  • Used as a burn treatment
  • This guards against trauma and infection
  • A person sheds more than 4 lbs per year
  • Offers protection from sun radiation

The skin regulates our body’s internal temperature. It also maintains the balance of water in our bodies, offers protection from sun radiation, and stands guard against trauma and infection. There are 19 million skin cells on your body. In a single day a person sheds 10 billion skin flakes. Infections are the #1 cause of death in burn victims but skin donations can protect against this. It can take between 10 and 15 donors to help one severe burn victim.

3. THE LUNGS

  • A symptom of a failing lung is that it is continuously difficult to breathe
  • Brings oxygen into body and takes out CO2
  • You have been diagnosed with Cystic Fibrosis
  • Cystic Fibrosis makes you feel like you are breathing through a straw all day
  • Emphysema may cause the need for a transplant
  • You are wheezing continuously
  • Surface area of this organ larger than your skin
  • Lungs are required because your body can’t store fresh air
  • This organ can be customized in size to fit the recipient

It is not a low oxygen level that makes us breath but actually a high carbon dioxide level. If a donor’s lungs are too large, they can be customized to fit the recipient. A portion of this organ can be donated while living. Approximately 1,000 patients receive a lung transplant each year, while 18 people a day die waiting for a transplant.

4. THE LIVER

  • It cleans the blood by breaking down alcohol and other chemicals
  • On an average day, over 500 gallons of blood pass through the liver
  • Located under the ribs on the right side of the body
  • Liver damage can cause bodily itching
  • Whites of the eyes turning yellow is a sign of liver damage
  • Produces bile which eliminates toxic substances and helps the digestion process
  • The liver creates more heat than any other organ
  • If, due to trauma or surgery, a person has two-thirds of their liver removed, it will grow back in a year
  • Controls supply of body fuel with glucose

This organ performs over 500 individual functions vital to survival. About 5,000 people receive liver transplants each year and the waiting list gets as long as 17,000 people. A donated liver can be split between two recipients – one deceased donor can be the source of two liver transplants.

5. PANCREAS

  • Diabetes can cause the need for this transplant
  • Excessive thirst & frequent urination are symptoms of diabetes
  • Controls the level of sugar in the blood
  • Releases enzymes that help digest food
  • Produces insulin
  • This is one of the most fragile organs in the body
  • The individual cells from this organ can be transplanted
  • Malfunction leads to inability to control glucose in blood

Pancreas produces enzymes that are released into the intestine to help digest food. It houses islets, the cells that produce insulin to regulate your blood-sugar level. Islet cells can also be transplanted on their own to treat patients of diabetes. Diabetes can damage or cause the failure of many of the body’s organs. Patients requiring a pancreas transplant often have kidney disease, therefore, the pancreas and kidneys are sometimes transplanted together. It is one of the most fragile organs in the body. When removed for a transplant it has to be carefully handled. Surgeons use the spleen as a handle to remove and transplant it.

6. BLOOD

  • 9 out of 10 people will need this transfusion at some point before age 80
  • Needed during organ or bone marrow transplant
  • The white cells fight infection
  • The most common form of living donation
  • Anemia can cause a need for a transfusion
  • Flows through vessels to heart bringing nourishment to muscular walls
  • 5 million people each year in the United States need this
  • Bodies’ transportation system making deliveries and pickups
  • Mixture of cells and liquid

Blood carries a steady supply of fuel and oxygen to its billions of cells. Blood also carries carbon dioxide and other waste materials to the lungs, kidneys, and digestive system. The blood that flows through our bodies, whole blood, contains three types of blood cells: red blood cells, white blood cells and platelets. White blood cells are a key part of the body’s system for defending against infection. They move in and out of the bloodstream to reach affected tissues. Blood is perishable, so donations must be made constantly. One blood donation could save up to 3 lives and take about an hour of your time.

7. THE HEART

  • This organ pumps blood
  • Over 36 million beats per year
  • Has 4 separate chambers
  • Severe chest pain is an indication of a problem
  • A transplant may be necessary if you have been diagnosed with Cardiomyopathy
  • Transplanting this organ saves approximately 2,300 lives each year in the United States
  • Myocarditis can result in a transplant

The heart and circulatory system pumps blood to the organs, tissues and cells of your body. It also delivers oxygen and nutrients to the body’s cells through your arteries. Over 3,500 individuals are waiting for a heart transplant every year and 200 are waiting for a heart-lung transplant.

8. HEART VALVES

  • Congenital defects and a leaky valve can be reasons for needing a transplant
  • Regulates the flow of blood inside the heart
  • The blood can leak backward when this doesn’t close
  • Maintains the unidirectional flow of blood in the heart
  • Improper function puts extra strain on the heart and can lead to heart failure
  • These valve replacements can come from cows and pigs

Heart valves maintain the unidirectional flow of blood in the heart by opening and closing depending on the difference in pressure on each side. The most common congenital abnormality of the heart is the bicuspid aortic valve – instead of three cusps, the aortic valve has two cusps. Regurgitation can occur when a valve does not close completely, causing the blood to flow backward instead of forward through the valve. The “lub-dub” sound of a heartbeat is actually two sounds made by the heart valves as they open and close.

9. CONNECTIVE TISSUE

  • Overusing a tendon can lead to the need for a transplant
  • Poor range of motion and inability to move joints freely can be an indicator that you need a transplant
  • Injury to achiilles tendon, rotator cuff, and ACL can all lead to the need for a transplant

Tendons serve to attach muscles to internal structures such as bones or other muscles. Cartilage is the tough yet flexible connective tissue that covers the ends of your bones at a joint protecting bones by preventing them from rubbing against each other. It also gives shape and support to other parts of your body, such as your ears, nose and windpipe. Overusing a tendon (particularly in some sports) can stretch out a tendon like a worn-out rubber band and cause it to become inflamed (tendonitis).

10. THE SMALL INTESTINE

  • Intestinal failure is one of the reasons you might need a transplant
  • A transplant may be necessary if you have mal-absorption problems
  • Can become twisted or blocked
  • Short-gut syndrome and tumors of the Intestinal Mesentery can be reasons for a transplant
  • Completes digestion and absorption of nutrients

The function is to complete the digestion and absorption of digested nutrients into the bloodstream and lymph. Food moves through the small intestine by the contraction of its muscular walls. So even if you’re standing on your head, you will continue to digest your dinner. The folds, ridges, villi and microvilli of the small intestine produce a surface area of more than 250 square yards. That is larger than a tennis court. People with intestinal failure must receive nutrients intravenously. Because long-term intravenous feeding usually causes liver damage, many people who require a small intestine transplant also require a liver transplant at the same time. The majority of intestinal transplants are performed in infants and children.

11. THE KIDNEYS

  • Normally comes in pairs but you can survive with one
  • When this organ fails, it is called renal failure
  • Rids the body of harmful toxins
  • A symptom of kidney failure is blood in the urine
  • It removes waste from the blood and returns clean blood to the body
  • Half of these transplants come from living donors
  • This organ has a million filters
  • When this organ is transplanted, the old organ stays in the body
  • Regulates water – so the body functions properly

This organ removes waste (excess minerals like sodium and potassium) from the blood and returns clean blood to the body. This is the most commonly transplanted and most needed internal organ – as many as 14,000 in any given year. The waiting list includes up to 55,000 people. More people die each year waiting for this transplant than any other organ.

12. BONE

  • Reduces need for amputations
  • Restores mobility
  • Used in reconstructive surgery
  • Used to replace skeletal defects after tumor resection
  • Can be used in spinal fusion for scoliosis
  • You are born with over 300 of these in your body
  • Gives the body shape and mobility
  • It stores vital minerals and oozes cells that produce red blood cells
  • These are made up of 75% water
  • The one in your thigh is stronger than concrete

Bones protect your internal organs and give the body shape and mobility. They act as reserves of minerals important for the body, most notably calcium and phosphorus. Bones such as the skull and rib cage protect internal organs from injury. Bone tissues can aid with detoxification by storing heavy metals and other foreign elements, removing them from the blood and reducing their effects on other tissues. The term double-jointed refers to people who have elastic ligaments. Bone grafting/transplants have 100’s of uses. One bone donor can enhance the lives of over 50 people.

Information courtesy of http://www.gorecycleyourself.com

It’s never too late to save, or change, someone’s life.

x Steph

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2 responses to “The Power of Donatable Organs

  1. Hi Donat4Life, we are loving your whole campaign and everything you stand for and want to show you our full support and alliance with your cause, so much so we’ve dedicated a blog to you! check out our latest post: Donate in more ways than one- Donate4life! http://donordateaustralia.wordpress.com/2012/10/04/donate-in-more-ways-than-one-donate4life/. We’d love to work together with you to help spread the word about the importance of donation. keep up the great work!

  2. Really never thought of what I can donate. Even though I’ve signed up to be an organ donor I don’t actually know what I am able to help with. It’s great that you’ve highlighted these donatable parts, I’m more well-informed now. Thank you!

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