The first mention of diabetes is believed to have happened over 3,000 years ago. However, our understanding of it is a continual process. In the last few decades, type 2 diabetes (T2D) research and technological breakthroughs have brought significant advancements in treating and managing the condition. Here are some of the ways managing type 2 diabetes has changed.
From horseback riding and opium to exposing ants to the urine from a person with diabetes, we’ve come a long way in treating T2D. Insulin pumps are up first on our list. In the past, having to take insulin multiple times a day was done through the vial and syringe method. Though this method is still used today, insulin pumps made it much more manageable.
The pump is a computerized device, which is about the size of a deck of cards. You can wear it around your waist, put it in a pocket, secure it with an armband, or attach it to a belt or bra. Some pumps deliver the insulin continuously, and others only provide the insulin at meals or large snacks.
Continuous Glucose Monitors (CGMs)
If you’ve ever had to manually load a lancet into one of those little push guns, prick yourself, and squeeze a drop of blood onto a test strip, you know CGMs are a game-changer. CGMs have a tiny sensor placed below the surface of the skin. They measure the amount of glucose in the fluid between cells every few minutes. Then, they transmit the data wirelessly to a device or your smartphone.
You have one stick, instead of manually testing multiple times a day. And, it lasts several days and takes a reading about every 5 minutes.
Today’s medications are far more targeted for specific diabetes issues. These include:
- Sodium-glucose cotransporter-2 (SGLT2) inhibitors- Oral medications that lower blood sugar levels by preventing the kidneys from absorbing glucose.
- Glucagon-like peptide-1 receptor agonists (GLP-1 RAs)- Injectable medications that help you control appetite and blood sugar levels.
- DPP-4 inhibitors also called gliptins- Oral medications that help manage diabetes by enhancing insulin secretion, slowing down digestion, and decreasing appetite.
- Thiazolidinediones also called glitazones- Oral medications that help make your body more sensitive to insulin.
- Sulfonylureas– Oral medications that increase the release of insulin from your pancreas.
- Meglitinides- Oral medications that help your body make more insulin around mealtimes.
- Alpha-glucosidase inhibitors- Oral medications that help your body digest sugar more slowly.
Understanding the history of diabetes and its early treatment can help us appreciate how far the understanding and treatment of this condition have come. With continued research efforts, we can continue the legacy of improving the lives of those with T2D and eventually cure it. To learn more about enrolling in type 2 diabetes studies here at Charlottesville Medical Research, call us at (434) 817-2442, or stop by our website today!