Juvenile Diabetes Can Lead to a Pancreas Transplant

Juvenile diabetes, now more commonly referenced as type 1 diabetes, is a condition that can result when the pancreas does not produce the required amounts of insulin. However, because this condition can also develop in adults, it is no longer referred to as juvenile diabetes - but rather insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus or type 1 diabetes. When the body cannot produce enough insulin, it is not able to convert sugars and starches into usable energy. This can lead to complications such as low blood sugar (hypoglycemia), nerve damage (diabetic neuropathy), vision loss (diabetic retinopathy), and even chronic kidney disease. Juvenile diabetes can often be managed through options such as:

  • Insulin injections and blood sugar monitoring
  • Dietary modifications
  • Regular physical activity

However, these therapies only help to regulate a person’s blood sugar. They cannot stop or slow down the acceleration of other diabetes-related complications. As a result, some physicians may eventually refer patients to a transplant center for a pancreas transplant. When provided with a new, properly functioning pancreas, patients may no longer require insulin or other medications to address diabetes.  Additionally, a new pancreas can also stop the progression of nerve and blood vessel damage caused by juvenile diabetes. To help determine a person’s likelihood of benefitting from a new pancreas, transplant centers will consider a number of factors, such as the patient’s age and insulin-dependency status.

At Tampa General Hospital, we assess transplant candidates on an individual basis - using information in a physician-submitted referral form and other factors to determine if a transplant is the best treatment.

For more information about the criteria we use when evaluating candidates with juvenile diabetes, please call Tampa General Hospital’s Pancreas Transplant Program toll free at 1-800-505-7769 (press 5 for the pancreas transplant program and ask for the referral coordinator), or contact the coordinator directly at (813) 844-8686.