Imagine not having to monitor what you eat, your activity level, and your blood sugar every day as if your life depended on it. For people with type-1 diabetes, their very lives do depend on keeping a close tab on these things each and every day.
The onset of type-1 diabetes can happen at any age, but it usually occurs during childhood or early adulthood. The disease is caused by the inability of the pancreas to create insulin. The body simply stops making it because an autoimmune attack destroys the cells in the pancreas responsible for insulin production. Without insulin, body cells can’t get the blood sugar they need to function properly. Glucose builds up in the bloodstream and a very serious condition called diabetic ketoacidosis occurs. This can result in damage to the heart, nerves, eyes, blood vessels, kidney and possibly even death.
As of right now, there isn’t a cure for type-1 diabetes. But that could be about to change. A possible cure for insulin-dependent diabetes is already delivering promising results.
A new study from Sydney offers new hope to patients with type-1 diabetes. According to Professor Ann Simpson at the University of Technology in Sydney, an actual cure for the potentially debilitating disease is on the horizon and could be developed in as little as three years.
Though not yet tested on humans, the potential cure has delivered thrilling results in rats, mice, and pigs. Simpson says, “...I see absolutely no reason why the same technique will not work on humans.” The procedure would enable diabetics to stop their insulin injections once and for all. Those who are at risk for developing serious complications, or whom already have developed complications such as blindness, heart and kidney problems, gangrene, and neurological problems could be helped as well.
The cure involves surgically implanting the human insulin gene into the liver. At that point, the liver would be responsible for secreting insulin rather than the pancreas.
According to the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, more than 3 million Americans have type-1 diabetes. Approximately one in every 400 to 600 children and adolescents are affected. Currently treatment involves walking a difficult road and a lifetime commitment to taking insulin injections, eating healthy foods, maintaining a healthy weight, regular exercise, and monitoring blood sugar levels . . . every day.
It can be overwhelming but like living with many chronic conditions, the key is to take it one day at a time. Until the new cure is actually available, it’s helpful to know those with type-1 diabetes have plenty of support available through their diabetes treatment team and more. Even online communities are plentiful and are truly dedicated to helping those with type-1 diabetes live normal lives.