Can synthetic biology finally cure the autoimmune disease?
Diabetes’ prevalence has exploded in the US over the past 20 years. Nearly 30 million Americans live with the disease today — more than three times the number in the early 1990s.
And researchers have long known that diabetes is an underreported cause of death on death certificates, the primary data source for determining life expectancy trends.
Untreated, diabetes patients are twice as likely to have heart disease or a stroke, and they have a higher risk for developing kidney disease, high blood pressure, eye trouble and nerve damage. Still, African Americans with diabetes fare much worse than the rest of the population.
The biggest barrier to access to insulin is cost. In the US, the price of insulin tripled between 2002 and 2013; continually rising costs have prompted a federal investigation. There are no generics available for insulin, 99% of which is manufactured by the pharmaceutical companies Eli Lilly, Sanofi, and Novo Nordisk. Prescriptions can cost over $1,000, and in one study, almost 25% of people who require insulin reported dangerously rationing their insulin to try to save money.
While we wait for regenerative medicine to provide us with lab-grown pancreases to replace diseased ones and permanently treat diabetes, patients unfortunately will have to continue searching for better tools to manage their disease. The good news is that several approaches have already been undertaken to develop such tools to help them do so.
Because that's the thing about self-tracking. It takes dedication, diligence and effort. It is work. Yes, self-tracking offers all sorts of benefits. It helps people chart their progress, helps them feel that they're in control. But it's not a panacea or a silver bullet. It is nothing at all like a cure.
Writing in a study published by The Lancet: Diabetes & Endocrinology this month, a team of international researchers propose that there are actually five types of diabetes, and that the distinctions between them could mean that some people are taking diabetes medications they don’t need, while others aren’t being treated sufficiently at time of diagnosis.
Although there is an increased incidence in adults, type 1 diabetes is primarily a condition of the younger population. Even with the use of insulin pumps it is without a doubt one of the most challenging chronic medical issues for families.
Researchers long believed Type 2 diabetes was not curable, but today the prevailing view is that it can be reversed by weight loss, says Dr. George King, the chief scientific officer at Joslin Diabetes Center and a professor at Harvard Medical School.
The American Diabetes Association launched the Stop Diabetes movement during American Diabetes Month (November) 2009. Since then, over 677,728 people have joined this movement to take a stand against this disease, demonstrating that even when it comes to a disease that affects each of us in different ways, we are stronger when we unite against it.
Tu Diabetes is an Online Community where the members help each other out, educate ourselves and share the steps we take every day to stay healthy while living with this very serious condition.