Medical Technology

How Advances in Medical Technology have Helped Diabetics Lead Normal Lives



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There have been many advances in the treatment of diabetes. Much more is known about the disease and how to control it. With some new experimental procedures diabetics may be able to eliminate insulin shots altogether, in fact there may be a cure around the corner.

A diabetics diet used to be very restrictive. Sugar was kept to a minimum. This made it difficult to follow the diabetic diet faithfully. Today, views have changed in some ways. All food (except proteins and fats) contain carbs. The body turns the carbs into sugar to provide the energy that is needed. The body of a diabetic doesn't process the sugar correctly so blood glucose levels rise to dangerous levels. This is why diabetics need to control their sugar intake.  It is now known that the body can't tell the difference between the carbs in whole wheat bread and the carbs in a Hershey bar. A diabetic can choose to eat the Hershey bar (20 g carbs in one avg bar) instead of 2 pieces of bread (26 grams of carbs) if the candy bar doesn't exceed the carb limit he has for a snack or a meal. This means that you don't have to deny yourself the Hershey bar but you still have to be careful about the carbs you are taking in. You should also consider your other nutritional needs. Indulging in the occasional candy bar(as it fits into your carb regulated diet) or other treat that you desire might help you stay on track.

 The amount of carbs can different for each person; depending on a number of factors. If the person is taking insulin or pills that mimic insulin they need more carbs then a person who is treating their diabetes with diet. The devices used to test for sugar in the blood have been made less painful. They require less blood, and a person can take blood from different sites that are less painful. The meters themselves are more accurate and less difficult to use. They keep track of the sugar readings over time which helps the doctor decide on changes in a patients regimen.

A person with severe diabetes can wear a pump instead of poking themselves with a needle. The pump delivers the insulin directly into the body. Another advancement in the delivery of insulin is an inhaled version that shows promise. If it becomes available insulin dependent diabetics may no longer have to take shots.

One last experiment that is being conducted to aid in a cure for diabetes is islet transplants. It is the islets in the pancreas that produces insulin. In this procedure a donor gives the diabetic patient some of their pancreatic islets. This has proved to be effective, however like all transplant procedures the immune system of the patient has to be suppressed.

There are many advances in the treatment of diabetes. Maybe one day soon there will be a cure.

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