Can You Live Without a Pancreas

Can You Live Without a Pancreas: Things You Need to Know

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Is it possible to have a life without a pancreas? Well, the answer to this question is a big ‘Yes’. 

It does not matter why you removed your pancreas. There can be a number of reasons. But the most important thing is that now your body would not be able to perform the functions of the pancreas. Yes, it is true that one can live a normal and healthy life without a pancreas also but proper medication and care are required. Surgery can bring a lot of changes in your lifestyle also and you have to take care of it. 

The pancreas is an abdominal gland, a part of the digestive system which can be found behind the stomach and is mainly responsible for two functions. Therefore, it can be divided into types, named as:

  • Exocrine pancreas – Exocrine pancreas is responsible for regulating blood pressure as well as it also helps the digestive system. It is responsible for the secretion of enzymes that helps in the breakdown of food particles in the small intestine.
  • Endocrine Pancreas– It is responsible for the production of insulin in the body. Without endocrine pancreas, your body would not be able to produce insulin which means you have to depend upon artificial insulin injections or pumps to maintain sugar level in your body. 

Can you live without your pancreas?

As already said, you can continue with your life without a pancreas also. You may undergo surgery if required. But after the operation, your body would not be able to produce insulin which in result would be unable to maintain the blood sugar level. The pancreas is also responsible for the smooth working of the digestive system.

The secretion of enzymes helps in the breakdown of food particles. After the surgery, your body would not be able to perform all these functions. A lifetime medication or treatment would be there for you to take care of your body. Though you can live without your pancreas, it can bring a lot of changes in your lifestyle. 

What are the reasons that can lead to the removal of the pancreas?

Pancreatectomy is the name of the surgery which doctors perform to remove your pancreas. There can be various reasons which can lead to the removal of the pancreas and they are as follows:

  • Pancreatic Cancer- This type of cancer is one of the most dangerous cancers so far. If you are suffering from pancreatic cancer it is very important to remove your pancreas as the cancerous cells can spread to other organs also. So, in order to stop the cancerous cells from spreading, you may need surgery. There are two types of surgeries that can take place and they are named as – Curative surgery and Palliative surgery. 
  • Pancreatitis – Pancreatitis is another reason which can lead to the removal of your pancreas. There are two types of pancreatitis and they are named as Acute pancreatitis and Chronic pancreatitis.  Acute pancreatitis is responsible for causing inflammation in the pancreas for a shorter period of time whereas Chronic pancreatitis can cause this inflammation or infection to stay for a longer period of time. It can cause a lot of pain in the abdomen and the symptoms may differ in both cases.
  • Hyperinsulinemic hypoglycemia – Hyperinsulinemic hypoglycemia can also be a reason for the removal of your pancreas. In simple words, it’s a condition when an excess of insulin causes a low blood glucose level in the body. 
  • Injury – Any kind of severe injury in the pancreas can also lead to the removal of the pancreas through a surgery. Some people also refer to it as pancreas trauma. 

What are the things you need to take care of after Pancreatectomy?

You can continue with your life after the removal of your pancreas also. As already said, the answer to your question ‘Can you live without a pancreas?’ is a big yes but you may need to bring some changes in your lifestyle and diet. After the operation, you may feel weak, so your doctor may ask you to stay in the hospital only. Your body can take months to recover and you may have to depend on liquid diets. 

It may be a life-long treatment and you may have to take care of your appointments and tests with the doctor. Also, your body would not be able to produce insulin so you have to depend upon artificial insulin injections. 

Proper care of the patient needs to be done in order to make sure that the person is well. Intake of any type of drug or alcohol can harm your body also. A proper and healthy diet is important to live a normal and healthy life.

What to eat after Pancreatectomy?

Though your doctor will help you with a proper diet plan after your surgery, some of the things which you can add in your diet are-

  • More protein in your plate which will help you to recover quickly.
  • Eating ‘white’ food can also help.
  • It is better to avoid fatty food items and insoluble fibre from your diet.
  • Fruits and vegetables can help you to stay healthy by providing you important nutrients, minerals and vitamins.
  • Drinking plenty of water can help you in many ways but stay away from alcoholic beverages.
  • As the removal of the pancreas can also increase the chances of diabetes so one may need to limit the intake of sugar in their diet.

Conclusion

Removal of the pancreas can bring a lot of changes in your lifestyle. It is possible to continue with life without having a pancreas also, but proper medication, treatment and care of the patient should be done. As your body would not be able to perform the function of the pancreas so you have to take care of those things. There are chances of diseases like diabetes to occur after the removal of the pancreas so you may also require life-long treatment for diabetes. Regular appointments and tests with the doctor are necessary to make sure that the patient is fine. One may take several months also to recover after the surgery. 

There can be complications also but proper care and medication can help the person to stay a healthy and normal life without having a pancreas also.

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