Brazilian Natural Medicine

Diabetes can progress to pancreas and kidney transplant — English (Brazil)

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Considered a risk factor for a number of diseases, ranging from vision to the cardiovascular system, diabetes mellitus — inability or deficiency to produce the hormone that metabolizes glucose (sugar) in the blood — can also affect the functioning of the pancreas and kidneys . However, more than harming the organs, the most severe conditions can evolve into the need for transplants.

In the week of World Diabetes Day, it is important to raise awareness of the importance of early diagnosis and treatment to avoid forms that can dispense with transplantation, such as Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD).

Healthy habits

With approximately ten million people with kidney disease, Brazil is the third country with the most kidney transplants. According to the Ministry of Health, although part of the cases are associated with hereditary factors, good lifestyle habits, such as physical activity, not consuming alcohol or tobacco, and maintaining a healthy diet could reduce the incidence of CKD.

The condition impairs the function of the kidneys to filter the blood and help eliminate toxins from the body. It can be caused by uncontrolled diabetes and is treated with dialysis (peritoneal or hemodialysis), which is the artificial filtering of the body’s impurities. Even so, in irreversible cases, kidney transplantation is necessary, as well as simultaneous pancreas and kidney transplantation may also be indicated in end-stage renal disease.

Regarding the joint procedure, Ana Patrícia de Paula, deputy director of the Specialized and Thematic Care Board (DAET) — of the Specialized Health Care Secretariat (SAES/MS), explains: “The combined pancreas and kidney transplant is about a highly complex surgery. Once transplanted, the new pancreas and new kidney will help regain control of blood glucose levels when insulin replacement is no longer sufficient.”

In cases where the procedure is recommended, the patient will be evaluated by a specialized team and must have the procedure authorized by the Ministry of Health, which will authorize enrollment on the waiting list for the transplant.

If selected as a recipient, the medical team will contact the patient to confirm compatibility and surgery. After the procedure, there will be an improvement in the quality of life of the transplanted person, but it will be necessary to use immunosuppressive drugs continuously, in order to avoid rejection of the organ received.

Currently, there are 15 transplant centers and 16 specialized teams for isolated pancreas transplantation. With regard to chronic kidney diseases, there are 729 health facilities qualified for high complexity care in the SUS, offering hemodialysis, peritoneal dialysis and pre-dialysis care. In 2021, the Federal Government, through the Ministry of Health, invested BRL 3.2 billion in treatments related to these diseases.

Ministry of Health



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