Diabetes is said to affect approximately 9.4% of the population in the US. 30.3 million Americans suffer from the disease, with 1.5 million people being diagnosed every year.
There are two types of diabetes. There’s type 1 and type 2.
Type 1 affects 1.25 million Americans. It can occur at any age, to anyone at all regardless of race or size. It is a condition that happens when the body does not produce insulin. Insulin is necessary to help the body produce energy by allowing glucose to enter cells. Symptoms include increased thirst, frequent urination, hunger, bed-wetting, fatigue and weight loss.
Type 2 diabetes is much more common. Those suffering from type 2 diabetes don’t use insulin properly. Some patients can control this type of diabetes with exercise and healthy eating. Others often need insulin or medication to manage the disease.
Before people develop type 2 diabetes, they have prediabetes. Prediabetes has no clear symptoms, but their blood sugar levels are higher than normal. If blood sugar levels are high but not high enough to be diabetes, you might have prediabetes. It’s important to get checked by a doctor. Following a plan of exercise and healthy eating habits could prevent you from getting type 2 diabetes.
Is there a cure?
Up until now, there have been many ways to manage diabetes, but there has never been a cure. Yet this could be about to change. Israel-based researchers are working on developing a cure that could hit the market within the next few years. The research group, based in Jerusalem, are developing an artificial pancreas. Patients would receive a pancreas implantation connected to his or her blood vessels.
With this solution, the patient will never need to inject him or herself with insulin. The pancreas will monitor sugar levels. It will also release the right amount of insulin into the patient’s bloodstream.
The pancreas can be inserted into the body in an outpatient clinic using local anesthesia. This is possible since the pancreas functions as an autonomous organ. Therefore, it can be located anywhere in the body.
So far, animal trials have been completed and they are about to start with human trials within the next year. Betalin Therapeutics needs to raise another $5 million before the trial. The company is already collaborating with clinics in Europe, Asia and the US.
So, what will it cost to get an artificial pancreas? It’s not cheap. The pancreas will cost around $50,000. Anyone who requires artificial insulin will benefit from this cure.
Other groundbreaking treatments for diabetics
The artificial pancreas isn’t the only solution for diabetics. Israeli researchers around the country have developed many other technologies to treat the disease.
Oramed pharmaceuticals has developed an insulin capsule which will replace the injection.
DarioHealth developed a personalized glucose-meter that uses an app to manage diabetes from a smartphone.
GlucoTrack has developed sensor clips which attach onto the earlobe. This allows users to self-monitor glucose levels non-invasively. The unit also stores and compares previous readings.
There is a Sweetch app which predicts your personal diabetes risk. Since there are 79 million Americans and 63 million EU adults who are pre-diabetic, this technology is crucial in preventing cases developing into diabetes.
DreaMed developed an artificial pancreas which is integrated with an insulin pump, to provide continuous monitoring of sugar levels and adjustment of insulin.
There are many other examples of technologies that not only help manage diabetes symptoms, but also work on preventing the disease in the first place. There is no current cure available on the market today. But we can see that within the next few years this is expected to change with the artificial pancreas.