Diabetes – risks and new treatments

More than 9 million Canadians have diabetes

It impacts everyone directly or indirectly. The prevalence of diabetes makes it the subject of much study – the search is constant for better ways to prevent and treat it. One significant risk of some diabetes therapies is hypoglycemia, a dangerously low level of blood glucose. Researchers have found that a drug used to treat asthma, formoterol, can reduce hypoglycemia and they theorize it may have a role to play in diabetes management. Watch for more info to come!

Drug combo may halt Type 1 diabetes

While Type 2 diabetes (T2D) gets plenty of attention due to its prevalence, Type 1 diabetes (T1D) affects more than 300,000 Canadians. It is thought to be an auto-immune condition where the cells producing insulin are destroyed. A study is underway to examine a combination of two drugs, cyclosporine and omeprazole, in the hopes that they may work together to halt the immune system attack and regenerate the necessary beta cells. Fingers crossed!

Bionic pancreas – not fiction

Several clinical trials are underway to test the effectiveness of a so-called “bionic” pancreas. The pancreas is the organ that functions to secrete insulin in response to blood glucose levels. The device is capable of measuring blood glucose and delivering insulin and glucagon in response to the levels it reads. So far, the device is performing very well in ͞real world͟ situations and, while not a cure, could be a safer treatment. It may hit the market as early as 2018.

Insulin pumped!

Modifications to current insulin pump delivery systems are being tested for value. The changes made to current insulin pumps involve ͞closing the loop͟ between blood glucose levels and insulin delivered. Carbohydrate-counting and bolus doses are still required, but the device has performed well for as long as three months and it’s expected that it could come to the market soon since it is based on existing technology.

Diabetes needs to be taken seriously as the consequences and complications are serious. Lifestyle plays a huge role in its development and management. Are you at risk? See www.take2minutes.ca and find out, or talk with your pharmacist.