Hello Readers! In this short post, we will be comparing between the Conventional treatment options and New treatment options for type I diabetes.
As you may have read from our previous blog posts (Click here <– If you haven’t), you may have found out about the various treatment options for diabetes available amongst us today. However, nothing is as good as it seems and there is certainly a bad side to everything.
From post 2, History of Diabetes, it was mentioned that ideally, the only way to treat Type I diabetes with our current technology advances is through administering Insulin. And this can be done in 2 forms: Insulin injection and Insulin pump.
As its name suggests, it is a process where Insulin is administered into a patient’s body through injections. It is way cheaper than the Insulin pump (which will be covered later) and it does not require less education and training as compared to the pump therapy!
However, the downside is that frequent injections in the same site may result in the thickening of the injection site. And hence, insulin may not be able to absorb properly consecutively in the future
Furthermore, as mentioned in post 2, the syringes/pens are non-reusable and Needle-stick injuries tend to occur when one recaps/bends/breaks the needles.
And the solution to all those complications of Insulin injection are solved using Insulin Pump, an alternate mean to administer insulin into an individual’s body.
With the introduction of pump therapy, there will be less needle sticks required as only one hook-up injection is needed in an individual every 3 days. This is extremely low as compared to 15-18 injections in a 3 day period when administering injection therapy.
This equates to lesser probability of Needle-Stick injuries and also thickening of injection sites
However, operating an Insulin pump requires training at a outpatient center and pump supplies are generally more expensive as compared to the typical Injection therapy.
Furthermore, for athletic individuals, it can be a troublesome thing as there is a need to be attached to a pump most of the time.
New Treatment Options
If you have seen/watch “How I met your mother”, you must’ve heard of this famous quote from Barney Stinson: “New is always better”.
However, can that be said the same for Diabetes treatment?
(Click here <– to read about the future of diabetes treatment if you haven’t)
Even with the introduction of Insulin pump, it does not entirely nulls the risk of inflicting Needle-stick injuries on oneself or developing a thickened injection site of an individual.
As such, for many years companies have been trying to come up with ways to entirely solve that problem; until they finally found an answer: Inhalation Insulin.
It is a painless method of introducing Insulin into the body simply by inhaling a device (similar to an Asthma Inhaler)
However, it does have its cons. For instance, the product and cartiridge is quite pricey. And also, it is not advisable for use amongst people with Asthma, Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) or even for those who smoke.
This is due to a risk of Bronchospasm (a sudden muscle spasm in the airway that may result in difficulty in breathing in an individual)
Even though more studies are needed to determine the long-term effects of inhaled insulin; milder side effects of the invention may also include occasional cough and Sorethroat.
Researchers have always been coming up with many different ways and methods in order to simplify a process such as Diabetes treatment.
For instance, amongst the conventional methods (Injection & Pump therapy), because there was a constant need to measure blood glucose level in order to calibrate the amount of Insulin to be administrated per injection; individuals have always found it a very burdensome thing to do.
Furthermore, experiencing periodic Hyper/Hypoglycemia is also very common due to human error.
As such, Researchers and Scientists’ answer to this problem is the Artificial Pancreas. This is essentially an automated Insulin pump which is paired with a continuous glucose monitor (CGM) in order to administer insulin into a person’s body.
This would equate to an individual to be able to go through his daily rituals normally without having to worry about measuring his blood glucose level & the food he eats — similar to individuals with normal pancreases.
However, the bad side is that, it is not a permanent cure of diabetes. And because of the paried CGM device; there is an additional need for an individual to carry around an extra device alongside with the Insulin Pump. This would result in more inconvenience.
Furthermore, the device itself does have a potential to malfunction; as such it can be life-threatening for an individual too.
Until next time!
Stephanie Watson. 2014. Inhaled Insulin: Benefits and Risks. [ONLINE] Available at:http://www.healthline.com/health/inhaled-insulin. [Accessed 20 November 15].
Jessica Pereira . 2012. Artificial Pancreas. [ONLINE] Available at:http://luckyjpereira.blogspot.sg/2013/05/artificial-pancreas-advantages.html. [Accessed 20 November 15].
Unknown. 2015. Disadvantages of Insulin Pump. [ONLINE] Available at: http://www.diabetes.org/living-with-diabetes/treatment-and-care/medication/insulin/disadvantages-of-using-an.html?referrer=https://www.google.com.sg/. [Accessed 20 November 15].
Unknown, (2011), Bronchospasm [ONLINE]. Available at:http://www.uichildrens.org/uploadedImages/UIChildrens/Health_Library/Allergy_and_Pulmonary/bronchiole.jpg[Accessed 20 November 15].
Diabetic Athletics , (2012), Bronchospasm [ONLINE]. Available at:https://diabeticathletic.files.wordpress.com/2012/07/197481_471989532863356_511789834_n-1.jpg?w=800&h=400&crop=1 [Accessed 20 November 15].
Diabetes care guide, (2014), Resistant injection sites [ONLINE]. Available at:http://www.diabetescareguide.com/newsite/wp-content/uploads/2014/01/Snap-2014-01-17-at-15.06.17.png [Accessed 20 November 15].