Diabetes is a chronic condition that causes your levels of blood sugar to become too high. There are approximately 3.1 million people over the age of 16 with diabetes in England as of 2010 and within the next 20 years this figure is expected to rise to 4.6 million just for type 2 diabetes alone.
If you are suffering from diabetes, your body is not able to break down glucose into energy because it does not produce enough insulin, or the insulin it is producing does not work properly. There are two types of diabetes – type 1 and type 2. In type 1 your body’s immune system will attack and destroy the cells that produce insulin, which will seriously damage the organs of the body.
The type 1 form of diabetes usually develops before the age of 40 and it is less common than the second type. Type 2 diabetes is when your body is not capable of producing insulin, or the cells in your body don’t react to it. This is known as insulin resistance. Type 2 diabetes is much more common and if you have this form of the disease you might be able to control it by eating a healthy diet, monitoring your blood glucose levels and exercising regularly.
Diabetes is a very serious disease that affects people for the rest of their lives. A great deal of research is currently underway to discover a cure or a better treatment for the disease.
Possible Future Treatments for Diabetes
Plenty of research studies are currently being conducted which are looking into potential treatments for those who are suffering from diabetes. These treatments are tested via medical trials and it can take many years before they make it from the idea stage to the actual implementation. Here are some of the possibilities the future might bring:
The Artificial Pancreas
Scientists are developing an artificial pancreas that could be used to provide insulin to the body in diabetic patients. At the moment when diabetes patients use insulin pumps to control their blood glucose levels this is an “open loop” system. This means that a continuous glucose monitor will be able to detect changes to glucose levels, but it cannot “reply” back to the pump itself with information on how to respond to those changing levels. The user will need to make manual adjustments to the level of insulin in their bodies.
However, if you could have an artificial pancreas you would be able to close the loop and let the glucose monitor and the pump talk to each other. At the moment researchers have been able to make the artificial pancreas work in a hospital setting, but they aren’t sure how it would work outside of this environment. A lot of clinical trials for diabetes are necessary to develop treatments like these before they can be used by the general public.
Stem Cell Research
Another possible treatment that researchers are working on is stem cells;these are essentially blank cells that have the potential to turn into any other type of cell in the body, including nerve, muscle or skin cells. When it comes to diabetes, there is the potential to use stem cell transplants as a way of resetting the immune system so that it will stop attacking the cells of the pancreas.
There have been a few small studies into using stem cell transplants on volunteers, but this treatment is only useful so far when the diabetes is caught within six weeks of being diagnosed. It must be used before the pancreas has been damaged.
There have been tests on mice that have shown that human stem cell transplants can successfully reverse diabetes in mice, but a lot of additional research is necessary before the approach can be used on humans.
Clinical Trials Support the Discovery of Future Treatments
At the moment, there is no cure for diabetes mellitus, except in very specific situations. It is possible to manage the disease by keeping the blood sugar levels close to normal with the use of exercise, diet and medications. However, with the progression of clinical research studies and tests there might be the possibility to discover a cure in the future. In order to test the new treatments, clinical research is essential. By volunteering as a clinical trial participant in a medical diabetes study (whether you are a healthy volunteer or someone with diabetes), you can take part in helping further research development and find potential future treatments and cures for this disease.
Note from the editor: Clinical trials are extremely risky and Healthynewage.com does not recommend that you take part in that.