Treatment for diabetes has suffered dramatic changes for the better in the last few decades. Moreover, scientists are confident that in the future, people will not see diabetes as a burden, even if there is still a long way to go until patients will be completely cured.
Medicine has gone a long way in its approach to the disease. In the past, testing for diabetes was quite limited, measuring the sugar level in the person’s urine. Nowadays, tests are much more accurate, as the glucose level in analyzed directly in the patient’s blood.
This includes the very accurate and not at all invasive A1C method that tests the average sugar levels in the blood over a period of three months.
Fred Whitehouse, who is the division head at the Heny Ford health System in Detroit, said that “this gives us a nice marker for showing whether a person is on the right road or not.”
However, researchers are not able to speak about a complete cure, in spite of the medical advancement and of the better treatment available for the people suffering from the disease. Even if a remedy is out of the question for now, the experts in the area have a clearer view over the disease and are able to understand its complications better.
These complications are actually the main reason why diabetes is regarded as such a dangerous disease. Otherwise, this illness would be treated like “hypothyroidism and other easily managed diseases,” according to Michael Brownlee, who is an expert at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine’s Diabetes Research Centre.
He himself was diagnosed with type-1 diabetes when he was eight and suffered from severe hypoglycemia and ketoacidosis, two serious complications of the disease. When he first went to medical school, people were not expected to live long enough to turn 50 years old. He also had difficulties when trying to enroll in med school because the professors were not confident he would live long enough to practice medicine.
However, the advances in medicine now allow people to live a normal life with the proper care and lifestyle. This is why the older statistics are not relevant anymore.
As long as the high glucose levels are controlled, the risk of having eye or kidney complications is much smaller.
There are people who have been living with the disease for their whole life. One of them is Kathryn Ham, who has been diagnosed with type-1 diabetes 78 years ago. Even if she did not have much hope at the beginning, now she is perfectly capable of living a normal life, as long as she keeps a certain discipline regarding her diet and regular shots of insulin.
The researchers present at the 75th scientific session of the American Diabetes Association are confident that in the next 50 years experts will be able to figure out ways to intervene in order to prevent the disease, and identify the mechanisms that cause diabetes to occur.