Diabetes

FAQs on Diabetes Treatment in Oklahoma

 

Diabetes is a chronic, progressive disease related to the pancreas’s inability to produce or utilize insulin. With diabetes, the blood glucose levels rise, causing many complications in the body.

 

How common is diabetes?

 

Diabetes mellitus affects around 300 million people worldwide, according to the International Diabetes Federation. Of these people, 25% go on to develop diabetic neuropathy, which is a painful nerve-related condition associated with high levels of circulating glucose.

 

What causes type 2 diabetes?

 

Type 2 diabetes mellitus is common among people that are genetically predisposed, those who are overweight, people with high blood pressure and those with insulin resistance from excessive weight. Certain ethnicities are at greater risk for diabetes, such as those of African, Mexican, and Hawaiian descent, as well as Native Americans. In addition, eating a poor diet, smoking, and aging are all risk factors for type 2 diabetes.

 

What are the complications of diabetes?

 

There are several complications of diabetes, which are broken down into two categories: microvascular (small blood vessel damage) and macrovascular (damage to large blood vessels. Complications include:

 

  • Nerve damage (neuropathy)
  • Kidney disease (nephropathy)
  • Peripheral artery disease
  • Eye disease (retinopathy)

 

What are the symptoms of diabetes?

 

Many people have diabetes that is controlled, so there are no symptoms. When the blood sugar is elevated, symptoms include excessive thirst, increased hunger, numbness of the feet and hands, increased urination, and blurred vision. These symptoms also get worse when the glucose remains elevated.

 

How is diabetes diagnosed?

 

To diagnose diabetes, the doctor will have some blood tests done. These include a series of fasting blood glucose values, a hemoglobin A1C, and a glucose tolerance test. In addition, the doctor will check your eyes for indications of retinal damage, and check for signs of nerve damage through the microfilament test and other diagnostic tests.

 

How is diabetes mellitus treated?

 

Doctors are now using stem cells to treat a variety of autoimmune diseases in animal subjects. Clinical trials are now open for patients with newly diagnosed type 1 diabetes mellitus. Researchers have found that stem cells will stop the autoimmune destruction of beta cells, which are necessary for insulin production. Stem cells have the capacity to transform into new immune cells that lack autoreactive memory against pancreatic antigens. When stem cells were transplanted, 50% of subjects required only half of their previous insulin doses. In addition, study subjects had lower levels of A1C, which indicated better diabetic control.

 

Does stem cell therapy work?

 

A randomized controlled trial involving 29 children with newly diagnosed type 1 diabetes was conducted recently. The control group received conventional insulin therapy, whereas the treatment group received stem cells therapy. Of the patients treated with stem cells, 4 had reduction in daily insulin requirements. In another study with 146 people, 59% became insulin-free 16 months following stem cell treatment.

 

Can stem cells cure diabetes mellitus?

 

In a large review of studies, researchers concluded that remission of diabetes mellitus was possible following stem cell therapy. They also found that stem cell transplantation was an effective, safe approach for treating diabetes. The clinical trials indicate patients in the early stages of diabetes respond better to stem cell therapy than those who are in the latter stages of the disease.

 

Resources

  • Komulainen J, Lounamaa R, Knip M, Kaprio EA, Akerblom HK. Ketoacidosis at the diagnosis of type 1 (insulin dependent) diabetes mellitus is related to poor residual beta cell function. Childhood Diabetes in Finland Study Group. Arch Dis Child. 1996;75(5):410–5. Epub 1996/11/01. pmid:8957954.
  • Rose KL, Pin CL, Wang R, Fraser DD. Combined insulin and bicarbonate therapy elicits cerebral edema in a juvenile mouse model of diabetic ketoacidosis. Pediatr Res. 2007;61(3):301–6. Epub 2007/02/23. 00006450-200703000-00009 [pii]. pmid:17314687
  • Voltarelli JC, Couri CEB, Oliveira MC, et al. (2011). Stem cell therapy for diabetes mellitus. Kidney Int Suppl1(3), 94-98.
  • Zhao Y, Jiang Z, Zhao T, Ye M, Hu C, Yin Z, et al. Reversal of type 1 diabetes via islet beta cell regeneration following immune modulation by cord blood-derived multipotent stem cells. BMC Med. 2012;10:3. Epub 2012/01/12. 1741-7015-10-3 [pii] pmid:22233865.

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