In honor of diabetes awareness month, we want to highlight the major advances in diabetes treatment that have made living with diabetes so much better than it used to be. Today, people are able to live normally with a disease that was previously a death sentence.
5 advances that have changed diabetes
- Insulin improvements. Insulin has improved a lot since it was first discovered in 1920. Scientists have improved insulin quality, strength, and peak activity so that manufactured insulin would work more like natural human insulin. Scientists developed the first synthetic insulin from genetically-altered bacteria. This synthetic insulin is called Humulin, the FDA approved it in 1982. Humulin reduced the side effects of insulin derived from cattle and pigs.
- Non-sugar sweeteners. With the availability of low-calorie, artificial sweeteners, and now more importantly natural options such as Stevia, diabetics are able to enjoy the same sweet treats as non-diabetics without worrying about dangerous blood sugar spikes.
- Medications. With advancements in pharmaceuticals, people with diabetes are able to live a healthy life. In addition to insulin, there are metformin and other type 2 medications for stabilizing blood sugar levels. Also, taking small doses of statins and ACE inhibitors can guard against diabetes eye, heart, and kidney complications.
- Insulin pumps. Insulin pumps have greatly increased quality of life and reduced life-threatening complications in diabetics. These handy pumps allow people with diabetes to receive a constant basal rate of insulin, with the option to get more at the push of a button. It’s also more comfortable since less injections are needed.
- Continuous glucose monitors (CGMs). These devices have made a groundbreaking difference, reducing finger pricks and keeping up with detailed information for the patient. CGMs can connect to a smartphone, where they record blood sugar levels over the course of 10 days. This makes the process of managing diabetes easier on both patient and doctor, who can easily track any changes or problems that may occur.
While managing diabetes can still be a pain, the advancements over the past decades have made life as a person with diabetes a lot easier to live. We celebrate these breakthroughs in Diabetes Awareness Month and every day.