The need for organ and tissue transplants and the shortage of donors affects people of all ages, races, cultures and ethnic backgrounds. However, to due to staggering rates of heart disease, high blood pressure and diabetes among people of color, they comprise the nearly half of the people on the national waiting list.
Nationwide, there are over 32,500 African-Americans, 20,000 Hispanic and 7,500 Asian Americans on the waiting list for various types of organ transplants. Meanwhile, last year there were only 4,400 minority organ donors.
While organs are regularly matched and transplanted across racial lines, transplant success rates increase when organs are matched between members of the same ethnic and racial group, so there is a great need for more minorities to register as donors.
Did you know?
- African-Americans make up 21.4 percent of North Carolina's overall population, but represent nearly 53 percent of North Carolinians waiting for an organ transplant.
- Of the more than 1,900 African-Americans waiting for transplants in North Carolina, 95 percent are waiting for a kidney transplant.
- 17 percent of all patients awaiting organ transplants in the United States are of Latino heritage.
- The majority of Latino patients are waiting for kidney transplants. Here in North Carolina, 80 percent of Latinos waiting need a kidney transplant.
- Diabetes, a leading cause of kidney failure in the US, is estimated to be four to six times more common in Latinos/ Hispanic-Americans.
- African-Americans are four times more likely than Caucasians to be on dialysis because of kidney failure, which must often be treated by kidney transplantation.
If you have an interest in helping to raise awareness about critical donation and transplantation issues among minorities, please learn more about how you can share the message.