Simultaneous Kidney-Pancreas Transplant comes to Tamil Nadu

Nearly 30 to 40 per cent of diabetics develop end-stage renal disease. On one side is the insulin shot, on the other is dialysis and the wait for a kidney for transplant. The cost goes up, but the quality of life lowers with each passing day.

The State’s first simultaneous kidney-pancreas transplant has come as a glimmer of hope for such people, who are battling end-stage renal disease and are undergoing dialysis.

For 21 years now, 52-year-old Parameswari of Puducherry has been hoping against hope to find a cure for her diabetes. The mother of two had another shock six months ago when she was diagnosed with renal disease. She was on dialysis and required large doses of insulin. When doctors at Apollo Hospitals suggested the simultaneous kidney-pancreas transplant, she immediately accepted. “I could not withstand the insulin shots twice a day. Now, post surgery, I have stopped taking insulin. I am eating lots of fruits and vegetables but do not want to take to sugar immediately,” she says.

This kind of a transplant serves many purposes. “Pancreatic transplant helps in achieving normoglycaemia in diabetics. It improves quality of life and reverses peripheral neuropathy. It prevents recurrent diabetes in kidney transplants and could prevent progression of diabetic nephropathy in native kidneys,” says Anand Khakhar, multi-visceral transplant surgeon, Apollo Hospitals.

Sometimes, there seem to be as many new diets as dieters. And, nearly violent aye and nay-sayers for each type of diet.

The latest one that seems to have caught the fancy of dieters in the country is the Paleolithic or ‘Stone Age’ diet, popularised in the West in the 70s.

Aiming to promote the eating of wholesome, contemporary foods that cavemen and women would have thrived on thousands of years ago, the premise behind this diet is that human genetics have hardly changed since the dawn of agriculture, and eating traditional foods that hunter-gatherers ate then, could lead to better health outcomes. The diet also envisages high levels of physical activity and more exercise.

Krithika Ravindran, plastic surgeon and age management physician at The Medical Park, says, in the Paleolithic age, many of the diseases we have now did not exist.

“Our genes have changed very little since those times, but our food habits have changed almost completely. We have been advocating this diet — all natural food with no processing — under the ‘Pa Leo Enclave’ campaign, but since it is difficult to get adults to change the way they eat, we have now started focussing on schools and creating awareness among children,” she says.

So what does the diet involve? Fresh meats, seafood, eggs, fresh fruits and vegetables, seeds, nuts and oils form the basis of the diet. Grains and dairy are a complete no-no, as under the diet, carbohydrates should be kept to a minimum. The focus is on deriving energy mainly from animal and plant foods.

The diet, of course, does not have everybody in its thrall. Some researchers argue it could pose health risks. Bhuwaneshwari Shankar, chief dietician at Apollo Hospitals Group, says she would not recommend it. “We have evolved considerably since the time of the cavemen and while it is good to eat fresh fruits and vegetables, I would not advocate the diet unless there is evidence to prove its health benefits.”

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