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Onward and upward in elder diabetes care and treatment

by Isabel Fawcett

At present, there is no known cure for diabetes. Nevertheless, there is plenty of good news for diabetics. The medical science and treatment of diabetes continues to make steady and hopeful advances. In some instances, medical advances in diabetes care and treatment have dramatically improved quality of life for most diabetics. The future of diabetes treatment is at the doorstep already for some diabetics who endure harsh chronic effects of their disease.

Currently, there is no known cure for diabetes. The chronic disease known as diabetes results from insufficient insulin in the human body, resistance to insulin, or both. For non-diabetics, and even some diabetics, the insulin hormone is produced by the body's pancreas to varying degrees depending on optimum pancreatic functioning.

Essence of Diabetes Treatment

The treatment of diabetes requires diabetics to actively test, monitor, and track their blood glucose levels in tandem with proven meal and nutrition planning strategies. This treatment goal for diabetes is easier said than done.

From my caregiver's vantage point, successful diabetes treatment needs to occur like clockwork. Medically prescribed pills or insulin injections may help a diabetic's body regulate too-high glucose levels. Carefully planning and successfully limiting sugar intake is part of diabetes self-management. Too much of anything, whether insulin or exercise, may do more harm than good for some diabetics.

Lifetime medical supervision for diabetics is strongly encouraged for improved blood glucose control. Timely management of potential complications of the disease and benefits from medical advances in the treatment of diabetes are compelling reasons to remain under lifetime medical supervision.

American Diabetes Association (2007) Statistics

According to statistics *reported by the American Diabetes Association (2007), the prevalence of diabetes in the U.S. is staggering.

  • 23.6 million children and adults in the United States, or 7.8 percent of the population, are diabetics.
  • Diagnosed: 17.9 million
  • Undiagnosed: 5.7 million people
  • Pre-diabetes estimate: 57 million people
  • New Diagnoses: 1.6 million new cases of diabetes are diagnosed in people aged 20 years and older annually.

Progressive Medical Development in Diabetes Treatment (Breaking News 2010)

One recent breaking medical research development may be great news for all diabetics.

**In a press release dated January 13, 2010, the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF) announced on its website and in national news, the planned development of an automated system designed to better manage ***Type 1 diabetes.

I am thrilled to learn that the automated system is already in use locally as featured in recent news. Even more exciting, this medical diabetes treatment may one day lead to the creation of an artificial pancreas for some diabetics. As might be expected, the device is compact, about the size of a cell phone.

The automated equipment's success remains to be proven over time. Regardless, this medical and research development reminds me of the revolutionary nature and reach of diabetes medical science and research and how far it has come, even during the time I have been an on-again, off-again caregiver to my mom who was diagnosed 30-plus years ago with adult-onset diabetes.

Every medical cure begins with a single step. Diabetes is no different. I am rooting for a cure. Until such time as a cure may be developed, I am proud of the steady and impressive stream of medical science advances in the treatment of this chronic disease with its devastating effects to the human body.

My fingers are crossed. My carer's heart is hopeful. The future of diabetes treatment is filled with hope for diabetics and thier caregivers alike.

Notes, References, and Additional Information on Diabetes

JDRF Artificial Pancreas Project (Video); Historic Announcement

http://www.artificialpancreasproject.com/

JDRF, Questions About the Artificial Pancreas Project

http://www.artificialpancreasproject.com/faq/default.html

*Source: Americans Diabetes Association's Diabetes Statistics and Prevalence in the United States, 2007; http://www.diabetes.org/diabetes-basics/diabetes-statistics/

** Source: JDRF Forms Partnership with Animas to Develop First-Generation Automated System for Managing Type 1 Diabetes, January 13, 2010, Release; http://www.jdrf.org/index.cfm?fuseaction=home.viewPage&page_id=2458B97B-1279-CFD5-A70D0580F67A16A9

***Type 1 diabetes destroys the body's ability to manufacture its own insulin hence the need to replace the body's lost insulin through injections or by insulin pump.