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Stepping Toward Regenerative Medicine For Diabetes

Stepping toward regenerative medicine for diabetes

Stepping toward regenerative medicine for diabetes

“Son, you need to live fast and loose because you’re not going to live very long,” the doctor told ten-year-old Chris Stiehl. It was 1961 and Stiehl had just been diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. “Back then,” he says, “prognoses were not very good, and treatments weren’t real good either.”
Stiehl and other people with this type of diabetes, many of whom are diagnosed as children, have difficulty maintaining normal blood sugar levels. To survive, they depend on injections of insulin, a hormone that clears sugar from the blood so that it can be used as energy.
Without tight control of blood sugar levels, patients with diabetes risk heart and artery damage that shortens lives by about 10 years on average. Stiehl—a husband, father and retired engineer—is one of just 3,000 people in the United States who has survived for more than 50 years with the disease. Even with modern interventions, including continuous glucose monitors, insulin pumps and both long- and fast-acting forms of insulin, blood sugar highs and lows still plague patients.
Type 1 diabetes occurs when a person’s immune system mistakenly attacks and kills cells in the pancreas called beta cells. These are the cells that secrete insulin and allow the body to regulate blood sugar levels. With too few beta cells, patients with type 1 diabetes must take over that function themselves.
Now, however, a group of Novartis researchers has found a way to get human beta cells to regenerate, a feat many had dismissed as impossible. The work, published online in Nature Communications on Oct. 26, is still in i Continue reading

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The Diabetes Payroll

The Diabetes Payroll

The Diabetes Payroll
Insulin, first discovered in 1921, revolutionized the treatment of type 1 diabetes. Dr. Banting licensed insulin to pharmaceutical companies without a patent because he believed that this life saving drug for type 1 diabetes should be made available to everybody who needed it. So, why is insulin so hard to afford today?
Only three pharmaceutical companies manufacture insulin in the United States — Eli Lilly, Sanofi and Novo Nordisk. In 2012, it is estimated that insulin alone cost the US health care system $6 billion. How can they make so much money from a century old product? In 2013, according to firecepharma.com, the best selling drug for diabetes (and #5 overall) was…. Lantus, a long acting form of insulin. So, after all the research of the past 95 years, the biggest money-makin’, mama-shakin’ drug was insulin? Yes, sir. Worldwide, this drug alone made $7.592 billion. That’s billion with a B. Oh, but the news gets better for Big Insulin. Out of the top ten, various insulins also ranked #3, 4, 6,7,9, and 10. Holy patent extensions Batman! A full seven of the top ten drugs for diabetes are insulin — a drug close to a century old. It’s like your 95 year old grandfather beating LeBron James at basketball.
Tweaking the insulin molecule allows additional patents and cheaper generic medications can be kept at bay. That this clearly violates Dr. Banting’s original intention doesn’t matter. There is no clear evidence that these newer insulins are any more effective than the old standards. While there are some theoretical benefits, the outco Continue reading

Diabetes and Your Feet – Foot Health Tips

Diabetes and Your Feet – Foot Health Tips

Making the Connection & Tips on Preventing Complications
Diabetes affects the lives of more than 9 million Canadians. Many people have diabetes and don’t even know it! Diabetes is the inability for the body to make or properly use insulin, and it impairs the body’s ability to convert sugars, starches and other foods into energy. The long-term effects of an elevated blood sugar can lead to serious damage of the eyes, heart, kidney, nerves, and feet. Diabetes Canada recommends, at minimum, annual foot screenings for all diabetics and endorses the “CAWC Diabetic Foot Risk Assessment” exam that is always complimentary at all BioPed Footcare Clinics across Canada.
Diabetics who see a Canadian Certified Pedorthist or Registered Chiropodist for their footwear and custom orthotics are less likely to have serious foot complications, which can lead to ulcer, amputation or even death. Keeping your feet in good health, starts with keeping your blood sugar in a healthy and consistent range, as recommended by your family physician.
How does Diabetes affect my feet?
In Diabetic Patients, the storage of blood sugar is affected. This means that the sugar remains in the bloodstream and if consistently high for a period of months or years, it can begin to attack small blood vessels and nerves. The smallest of them are found in our feet and therefore, tend to be affected first. A Diabetic’s feet may be painful, cold or change colour and this can be a sign of blood vessel disease. They may begin to detect a burning, tingling (pins & needles) or numbness in the feet that lasts all day Continue reading

Why People With Diabetes Should Avoid Meal Skipping

Why People With Diabetes Should Avoid Meal Skipping

The diet industry earns about $65 million per year by helping people lose weight. If you are a constant "dieter" and are still not getting the results you need, you might be lured into trying the next step. Why not skip meals to shed pounds? You'd save money and lose weight, right? Skipping meals is definitely not the answer. In fact, skipping meals is one of the worst things you can do, especially if you have diabetes.
It's one thing to skip a meal because you are busy or something came up unexpectedly, but you should not skip meals intentionally.
The Negative Effects of Skipping Meals
If you are someone with diabetes, it is important to eat regular, balanced meals to help stabilize your blood sugars. If you take an oral diabetes medicine that tells your pancreas to make insulin or actual insulin and you delay or skip a meal, your blood sugar can drop. Hypoglycemia (low blood sugar)—defined as anything less than 70mg/dL—must be treated with 15g of fast-acting carbohydrate to bring blood sugars to a safe level. Low blood sugars result in taking in extra calories from sugar to pick them up. For someone who is trying to lose weight, this doesn't make sense because not only are you taking in extra calories, but you are probably feeling pretty crummy too. Frequent bouts of low blood sugar are not only dangerous but can cause weight gain.
Skipping a meal doesn't mean you can eat more later, either. For example, if you skip lunch, you shouldn't go overboard with the carbohydrates at dinner to make up for it. When you ingest a large meal, rich in carbohydrates, the body must p Continue reading

Signs & Treatments for Hypoglycemia in Diabetic Pets

Signs & Treatments for Hypoglycemia in Diabetic Pets

Sometimes it’s good to go back to basic diabetes topics. Many of our readers are very educated in diabetic pet care, but I need to remind myself that we get new readers all the time. One of the greater concerns of treating diabetes, as we aim to achieve the proper insulin dosage, is hypoglycemia. If we accidentally expose the pet to too much insulin because a pet doesn’t eat as much as usual, or perhaps even vomits, then we could end up with a low blood glucose. Or, if we start at too high of an insulin dosage we could cause the blood glucose to go too low. I like to “sneak up” on the insulin dosage when we start a pet on insulin for this very reason. It’s good for pet owners to know how hypoglycemia might look and what to do in this event.
Before we talk about what is low blood glucose, let’s first discuss what a normal blood glucose level is.
The normal range for blood glucose in dogs and cats depends on several things. If the pet is at home, where white coat syndrome doesn’t play a role, a pet’s blood glucose is usually around 100 mg/dl, give or take a 30 points or so, for NON-diabetic pets. I think reference labs take stress hyperglycemia, anxiety while at the vet clinic, into account when they make their “normal range” for dogs and cats. One of the largest reference laboratories in veterinary medicine in America is Antech Labs. For dogs, the reference range for blood glucose at Antech is 70 to 138. For cats the normal reference range for blood glucose at Antech is 64 to 170. Cats are a bit more prone to stress hyperglycemia than dogs but it can happ Continue reading

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