Is There a Cure For Diabetes?

The health burden caused by diabetes mellitus, known to most simply as diabetes, is growing which is forcing the diabetes community to respond with one of three choices. The first choice is to prevent diabetes, the second is to cure it, and the third is to take care of the people who have it in order to prevent complications which can be devastating. All three approaches are actively being pursued by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the CDC, or Center for Disease Control. The National Institutes of Health is involved especially in doing research of methods to cure both type 1 diabetes, and type 2 diabetes, but they are focusing on type 1 diabetes. The Center for Disease Control on the other hand, is focusing most of the programs that it runs on ensuring that all proven science is put into daily practice for those who are dealing with diabetes. The general idea is that if every piece of important research and science is made meaningful in the day-to-day lives of people who are dealing with diabetes, then the research is not wasted. These are the approaches for a cure that are currently being pursued:

• Transplantation of the Pancreas.

• Transplantation of Islet cells which produce insulin.

• Development of an artificial Pancreas.

• Genetic Manipulation, which will create pseudo islet cells by inserting the human insulin gene into fat or muscle cells which do not normally make their own insulin.

These approaches are still facing challenges, like preventing rejection by the immune system, finding enough adequate insulin cells, keeping transplanted cells alive, etc. Progress is being made fairly consistently however, in all of these areas.

Is Insulin a Cure? No, insulin is not a cure for diabetes, and neither is injecting it. Insulin can allow a diabetic to survive, but many devastating consequences can be caused by the disease when the blood sugar level is crudely controlled. The insulin injections a diabetic takes cannot be as precisely or as continuously adjusted to maintain sugar levels that are safe, in the way that blood sugar and insulin levels match normally. The diabetic can risk a dramatic injection of insulin when blood sugar levels are too low. These reactions can include loss of consciousness, confusion, coma and even possibly death if not handled properly. When the injected insulin is below the amount that is required, the diabetic’s blood sugar can rise to cause damage to the diabetic’s eyes, heart, nerves, kidneys and blood vessels. Insulin is not a cure for diabetes, because it does not restore the diabetic’s ability to adjust their production of insulin every minute, which is a normal part of living.

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