Insulin: The New Hero in Town

Diabetes Mellitus happens to be a very common disease among the current human generation (though it is commonly found in cats and dogs as well). The disease is characterized by high blood sugar over a long period and has more serious implications for the various organs of the body.

The heart, kidneys, eyes, etc., are some of the organs affected by diabetes. It occurs when the pancreas is unable to produce enough insulin.

Symptoms of the disease include weight loss, frequent urination, increased hunger and thirst, blurry vision, headache, fatigue, slow healing of cuts, or other non-specific symptoms are very common in this condition.

Treatment of Diabetes Mellitus begins, or rather, should begin, as soon as the first signs of the above mentioned symptoms occur at regular intervals. After being diagnosed with Diabetes Mellitus, the patient has to undergo self-monitoring of blood glucose (SMBG) and interval measurement of hemoglobin. After these basic monitoring activities comes the rigorous, involved Pharmacologic Treatment. There are sub-categories for this.

The first includes Insulin Sensitizers under which comes Biguanides (Metformin) and Thiazolidinediones (TZD). Biguanides, in the form of French lilac, is primarily used in the suppression of hepatic glucose output, and secondarily, for the enhancement of insulin sensitivity of muscle and fat.

TZD also enhances insulin sensitivity of muscle and fat and mildly of the liver. The 2nd sub category of the Treatment of Diabetes Mellitus includes insulin Secretagogues. These stimulate secretion of insulin from the pancreas. Hence, it decreases hepatic glucose production and, like Insulin Sensitizers, enhances the glucose uptake by muscles and fat.

Insulin supplement

Apart from the above mentioned medical treatments and medications, insulin supplement is the oldest medical therapy available for diabetes. Discovered in 1921, the clinical testing in human beings began in 1922. Today, it happens to be the most important and direct method of reducing blood sugar levels.

Read more about blood sugar and blood sugar levels chart here.

It is further subdivided based on its duration, Insulin Glargine for Long Acting and Aspart (NovoLog) for Rapid Acting, etc. A very common practice of giving insulin to a patient is the Insulin Pump Therapy. It is a highly efficient and controlled medium of providing insulin to the patient.

This pump allows the use of varying basal insulin rates in different periods of the day. This Treatment of Diabetes Mellitus is more effective because it allows a better match between insulin delivery and glucose absorption from the meal, maximizing benefits to those patients with abnormalities of gastric emptying. The use of this pump is spreading in all diabetic populations, especially among patients with frequent hypoglycemia and pregnant women.

Continuous glucose monitors have been developed, which are used in conjunction with the insulin pumps and measures the interstitial glucose levels every 20 minutes. Most of these therapies are quite expensive and complex, in the sense that it requires close monitoring. But it is unavoidable because of the complex nature of the disease. Of course, doctors and health experts worldwide are emphasizing more on health, diet, and exercise as prevention, remedy, and Treatment of Diabetes Mellitus. Regular exercise is said to prevent a child, from an early age, from developing obesity. And regular check on the food consumption also adds to their priority list. Sugar free products and sweeteners is gaining a lot of popularity among people of all ages today.

The Investments of Diabetes

My parents used to joke that I was an old man born in a young boy’s body. I was always concerned with the time, counting down to to the next event or goal. How far off are we? When is this due? How long is this going to take? Do we have enough time for that?

In the past few years I’ve eased up a bit on my intense need to create everything by a deadline, though not much. To me, time is an investment worth far more than money. You can lose money, sure. You can spend frivolously or be blindsided by a catastrophe that wipes our your savings, but you can always try to make it back. Time is finite. There is no return. Once the clock starts, you continue to lose it until there is nothing left. I’ve been aware of it for a long time, partially due to my diabetes.

A lot of overhead

Quite frankly, diabetes is a time sink. Testing your blood sugar, adjusting your insulin levels, getting in the right amount of exercise, acquiring your supplies, staying up late to treat a high, changing your pump, adjusting your dose, etc. Diabetes can take up a lot of your time, if you let it. It requires an investment of energy and dedication that can take a toll on you, both mentally and physically.

Even more problematic are the investments in keeping diabetes around. There is money in the system–hundreds of millions of dollars–backing all of the horses running against progress. Today, Warren Buffett placed a lot of money behind several diabetes and kidney treatment companies, banking on the rates of diabetes to continue to rise around the world. Now, I actually like Warren Buffett (particularly for his candor), but this move should be a warning to all type 1’s that unless we act, the odds are not in our favor. Diabetes is a business, and if current trends are indicative of the future, it’s a business that is continuing to expand.

The next time you give a donation to a diabetes charity, ensure it goes to a cure.

How much more of your time can you afford to have wasted on diabetes? How many late, worried nights trying to get your sugars under control? Money is mobilized in the millions against  a cure, so make sure that the next time you give, you’re helping to stack the odds in our favor. We must progress to the ultimate goal.