Types of Diabetes
We know there are 2 types of diabetes namely Type 1 and Type 2.
- Type 1 is an incurable autoimmune disorder whereas
- Type 2 is a lifestyle disease that can be cured and reversed.
Diabetes is among the fastest growing diseases in the world. If we leave it untreated, it can cause life-threatening conditions & also death. We now see medical establishment creating new methods of management.
The trend nowadays is the usage of Technology. Today, a diabetic is mostly wired up with Bluetooth sensors & custom software that turns them into real-life cyborgs.
In The Blood
This is what happens. Actually when we eat food, it is split into 3 basic categories:
Carbohydrates are usually found in plant products that break down into a sugar called glucose in our digestive system. This glucose is turned into fuel to power our mind & muscles.
The body is able to do that conversion with the help of a hormone called Insulin, which gets produced by beta cells in our pancreas.
In Type 1 diabetics, the body does not produce it. Their immune system destroys those beta cells for an unknown reason.
In Type 2 diabetics, the body produces it but in less effective to do the conversion.
If the body cannot break down glucose, it has to get energy from other places mostly fat, but nothing is safe. This leads to a state of ketosis, where the acids released from fats build up. These acids can cause a wide variety of nerve & tissue damage.
They must continuously monitor their carbohydrate intake & then inject an appropriate amount of insulin to control.
If the intake is too little, they go into ketosis. Vice-versa can drop their blood sugar dangerously low, which can also lead to comas & death. It is a daily life and death situation.
Please Pee Here
This was how it was done 50 years back
The diabetic would wake up in the morning & pee into a test tube. Then they would have to add a tablet into that test tube that would change the color to show if the blood sugar was high, normal or low.
Then, take an Insulin injection and inject into their body that would last the entire day. Later, they would boil it in hot water and sterilize it for the next day.
We all know that the life expectancy for a diabetic is very short. It is only now, that there has been better ways to manage diabetes or else people would die even sooner.
Just One Drop
In previous times around 1980’s, a Finger prick blood glucose monitor had come out.
A drop of blood had to be introduced to an enzyme & an electrical current was to be passed through it. The number of electrons the sample would lose correlates to the amount of glucose present in the sample.
This was significantly more precise and would deliver a numerical representation of the patient’s current blood sugar.
That was dropped after the development of faster-acting insulin where diabetics could treat highs as they occur.
Secondly, it was to monitor their glucose throughout the day and made the required adjustments as and when needed.
Next was an accidental scientific discovery in the mid-1990s that helped change the life of diabetics around the world.
Get wired up Diabetics
The researchers were experimenting with the body’s cell fluid in the skin & discovered that it actually mirrors the blood glucose level with a 15 minute delay.
In the year 1999, MiniMed got FDA approval for the 1st continuous glucose monitor which is an electrode that is inserted into a diabetic’s skin which transmits a reading every 5 minutes without the need to draw blood.
T, Diabetics could get readings throughout the day. as of now, the sensors are good for about 3 days and have to be replaced as the body rejects it after that period. As of now, there are modern ones available that last almost a week.
In the year 1973, Dean Kamen (inventor of the Segway) debuted the world’s 1st wearable insulin pump, which was a device that could dose any amount of insulin to a diabetic through a small tube which is attached to the body. This gave diabetics even better control over their treatment, enabling them to dose themselves right amounts.
Future Tech for diabetes
This is now, a new treatment is the “The artificial pancreas,” a device that combines the 2 into 1. It has passed clinical trials & is slowly coming into light around the world. Though it uses complex algorithms, they monitor blood glucose & treat it at the same time in a “closed-loop” system that also administers glucose when blood sugars are too low.
The results are very positive. Just like existing pumps & CGMs, they still have to be changed out regularly, but this system marks a significant advance in treatment.
Upcoming Treatment of Diabetes
This seems to be very exciting. as of now, companies are working on insulin that does not have to be injected, but rather gets absorbed through the skin with a sound-activated patch.
Meanwhile, a company is working on something that can be inhaled before a meal.
Therefore, we are truly in safe hands.
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