Surgery cures for diabetes are currently being researched in a number of hospitals around the world. Type-1 diabetes is caused by the destruction of Beta islet cells in the pancreas which secretes insulin. People with Type-1 diabetes need to be on some form of insulin therapy currently for the rest of their lives to control their disease.
The University of Pennsylvania is currently conducting clinical trials for a new surgery called Islet Cell Transplantation. With this new procedure, doctors are transplanting islet cells from a matching donor to the pancreas of the diabetic. Beta islet cells are the cells from the pancreas that secrete insulin. This procedure is for Type-1 diabetics whose Beta islet cells have been destroyed and no insulin is produced. These patients need to be on insulin therapy for the rest of their lives so during the course of the disease, this insulin therapy can become very expensive. With the Islet Cell Transplantation, once the stem cells are transplanted into the liver, diabetics report that the body starts giving warning signs when the blood sugar is too low. Many Type-1 diabetics have previously had no warning and often just black out when blood sugar is low which can be dangerous when driving or performing other critical tasks. Most patients currently need two transplantations to get totally off insulin therapy. But unfortunately, so that the body does not rejects these donor cells, patients must be on immune suppressant drugs which leaves the person vulnerable to other illnesses.
One of the main problems in keeping blood glucose levels normal naturally is being overweight. Managing weight with portion and diet control can often stop or help stop the symptoms of diabetes. Those people who are overweight need to exercise and get body fat down to normal levels. For those who have an extreme problem with obesity, some of the new weight surgeries have provided successful in helping with weight loss and in turn helpful in controlling diabetes. The current epidemic of obesity is directly connected to the rise in Type-2 diabetes. Many researchers believe that this epidemic is caused by our cultures sedentary lifestyle.
There has been great success for some obese people with the new lap band surgery where a band is placed around the esophagus thru laparoscopic methods. Laparoscopic surgeries do not require any large openings that take longer to heal from but instead only require two are three small incisions and the procedure is then monitored by robotic arms thru monitors. This makes the opening leading into the stomach smaller and therefore the intake of food smaller. This method combined with diet and exercise has had much success with patients losing hundreds of pounds of weight. This surgery is easy to recover from and is not as drastic to recover from as some of the other weight loss surgeries.
Every year, several hundreds of Type-1 diabetics have whole organ pancreas transplants.
Averages of about 83% of these patients have no symptoms of diabetes a year after surgery and no longer need to be on insulin therapy. But there are not enough transplantable pancreases to meet the demand. The diabetics who do have this procedure are also trading off the need for insulin for the rest of their lives to needing very powerful immune suppressing drugs to keep their bodies from rejecting their new pancreas and they must continue these drugs for the rest of their lives. These drugs leave their bodies open to a host of other diseases because of their weakened immune system with these drugs. So many may wonder if this trade off is worth it.
Surgery cures for diabetes are currently being researched in a number of hospitals around the world.
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