Ex-NBA Veteran Nate Robinson Needs of a Kidney Transplant

Yesterday, The Daily Mail reported NBA veteran Nate Robinson, 39, admitted that ‘he doesn’t have long to live’ if he can’t get a kidney replacement. The former Knicks guard announced in October 2022 he had been dealing with Renal Kidney Failure and had been undergoing treatment privately for four years.  
‘Some people’s bodies reject dialysis. And thank God that mine accepts it, and I can live… If I didn’t go to dialysis, I wouldn’t live probably longer than a week or two, “Robinson told The Daily Mail. “So it’s serious, can’t miss a day.” The Three Time Dunk champion has been hospitalized several times due to painful vomiting. When Robinson was drafted and ended up with the Knicks in 2005, he was told his blood pressure was high. Follow-up tests showed his kidneys were failing, yet he went on to have a career that spanned 11 seasons.
We wanted to know more about the factors at play regarding Black men and kidney disease, so we went to Dr. Kirk Campbell, President-Elect of the National Kidney Foundation, and Irene and Dr. Arthur M. Fishberg, Professor of Medicine at Mount Sinai Hospital.
BHM: Nate Robinson isn’t the first athlete we’ve heard of who battled kidney disease. What factors are at play that lead to their diagnosis?
Dr. Campbell: An active lifestyle with healthy dietary practices is important for overall and kidney health. However, individuals can still get kidney disease due to lifestyle-related reasons. These could include genetic predispositions, hypertension, diabetes, and other systemic medical conditions.
BHM: Are there genetic predispositions at play?
Dr. Campbell: Approximately 10% of patients with chronic kidney disease have identifiable causative single-gene mutations. This does not include even more common genetic modifiers of kidney disease. An example is mutations in the gene APOL1, encoding Apolipoprotein L1. Approximately 14% of African Americans have APOL1 high-risk genotypes. These mutations account for up to 70% of nondiabetic kidney disease in African Americans and up to 40% of end-stage kidney disease requiring dialysis in this demographic.
BHM: Are Black men more predisposed to kidney disease than Black women?
Dr. Campbell: Black men in the US are the demographic group with the highest lifetime risk of kidney failure. A recent report found that though Black Men made up a little over 6% of the US population, they accounted for almost 17% of chronic kidney disease cases. The reasons are multi-factorial and include potentially higher rates and variable management of kidney disease risk factors, including hypertension and diabetes. Access to care and socioeconomic factors could also contribute.
In the meantime, Robinson is holding on for when he feels healthy and normal to spend time with his family and children. And there is still time for Robinson to find a compatible donor.
 

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