The last twenty years have seen radical advances in the treatment of diabetes, meaning the disease no longer acts a precursor to painful and life threatening complications such as blindness, amputation and kidney failure. Aided by modern science people with diabetes can now expect to lead long, rewarding lives, and these advances continue to accelerate as the disease becomes more widespread.
Much emphasis and research continues to surround the role of insulin in Type 2 diabetes, the most frequently occurring form of the condition. In particular, scientists are studying the relationship between energy created at a muscular level and its response to insulin generation in relation to impaired phosphate movement, as an early stage symptom of diabetes. This research is helping us to understand the problems of weight management among many insulin-resistant sufferers, who appear to have a lower calorific requirement than the rest of the population.
Insulin delivery is also the subject of much research and new implantable insulin delivery capsules are at an advanced stage. When commercially available these tiny pumps will be capable of measuring blood sugar levels and releasing exact quantities of insulin, mimicking natural delivery methods. Early progress in using the body’s own nutrients, to create insulin, means their life spans could be indefinite once biocompatibility issues can be overcome and the body prevented from attacking such devices.
The development of insulin inhalers is currently being fast tracked in clinical trials and could be used to deliver amounts of the compound through the mouth. While they may not completely eradicate the necessity for daily injections they will deliver a rapid amount of insulin to the bloodstream
With so much research underway including vaccines, cell transplants and gene therapy the lives of the 20 million Americans living with diabetes are set to be vastly improved over the next decade.