In This Chapter
^ Getting a new kidney and pancreas ^ Receiving new beta cells ^ Recovering from all types of transplants f
■ f there's such a thing as a "cure" for type 1 diabetes (or T1DM), it will be found in the information in this chapter. Three types of transplants are available to adults who have severe long-term complications from T1DM or who suffer from severe hypoglycemia and hypoglycemic unawareness. These surgeries generally are off-limits to children under the age of 18, who typically don't have such complications. The surgeries are as follows:
1 Pancreas transplant: Some folks, if their complications are severe enough, require a whole new pancreas. No matter how hard doctors and researchers try, they can't precisely mirror the function of the pancreas — either through insulin shots or continuous insulin infusion with an insulin pump. Only the pancreas works so well. What an organ!
1 Kidney transplant: If you bought this book too late to use the information to prevent kidney damage, this chapter tells you what you need to know about having a kidney transplantation or, even better, combining it with transplantation of the pancreas.
1 Pancreatic islet transplant: A new way of "curing" type 1 diabetes is transplanting just the cells that make insulin, the beta cells found in the islets of the pancreas (see Chapters 2 and 10 for more about these cells). This technique was first reported in 1974 but had little success until a report in 1990 from Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, which described a new way of preventing rejection of the islets without using steroids.
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All you need is a proper diet of fresh fruits and vegetables and get plenty of exercise and you'll be fine. Ever heard those words from your doctor? If that's all heshe recommends then you're missing out an important ingredient for health that he's not telling you. Fact is that you can adhere to the strictest diet, watch everything you eat and get the exercise of amarathon runner and still come down with diabetic complications. Diet, exercise and standard drug treatments simply aren't enough to help keep your diabetes under control.