Exposure to certain viral infections (mumps and Coxsackie viruses) or other environmental toxins may serve to trigger abnormal antibody responses that cause damage to the pancreas cells where insulin is made. Some of the antibodies seen in type 1 diabetes include anti-islet cell antibodies, anti-insulin antibodies and anti-glutamic decarboxylase antibodies. These antibodies can be detected in the majority of patients, and may help determine which individuals are at risk for developing type 1 diabetes.
Inhalable insulin has been developed. The original products were withdrawn due to side effects. Afrezza, under development by the pharmaceuticals company MannKind Corporation, was approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for general sale in June 2014. An advantage to inhaled insulin is that it may be more convenient and easy to use.
Other studies have found that people with pre-diabetes or type 2 diabetes can go into remission through changes to their dietary and exercise habits. People who manage to achieve this with food alone will often express their excitement publicly by claiming they “cured” their diabetes with their diet. In reality, the likely put it into remission, though that remission can last a very long time.
The major eye complication of diabetes is called diabetic retinopathy. Diabetic retinopathy occurs in patients who have had diabetes for at least five years. Diseased small blood vessels in the back of the eye cause the leakage of protein and blood in the retina. Disease in these blood vessels also causes the formation of small aneurysms (microaneurysms), and new but brittle blood vessels (neovascularization). Spontaneous bleeding from the new and brittle blood vessels can lead to retinal scarring and retinal detachment, thus impairing vision.
Research shows that cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) combined with medication works best. CBT works by identifying, understanding, and changing thoughts and behaviors, according to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America. As an active participant in your treatment, in CBT you'll do homework and practice exercises over several weeks or months. “This is a new skill that you’re having to fine-tune and develop over time in order to incorporate it into your day-to-day life,” Bereolos says.
With Type 2 diabetes, your body doesn’t use insulin well and is unable to keep blood sugar at normal levels. Most people with diabetes—9 in 10—have type 2 diabetes. It develops over many years and is usually diagnosed in adults (though increasingly in children, teens, and young adults). You may not notice any symptoms, so it’s important to get your blood sugar tested if you’re at risk. Type 2 diabetes can be prevented or delayed with healthy lifestyle changes, such as losing weight if you’re overweight, healthy eating, and getting regular physical activity.
Neuropathy is one of the common effects of diabetes. It’s estimated that 60-70 percent of people with diabetes will develop some sort of neuropathy throughout their lives. By 2050, it’s estimated that over 48 million people in the United States will be diagnosed with diabetes. That means in the future, anywhere from 28-33 million Americans could be affected by diabetic neuropathy.
People tend to push themselves until pain or fatigue makes them stop. They then rest for the shortest possible time, then get back to work until pain stops them again. You can prevent this cycle by pacing yourself: Figure out how much you can do without pain, and stop before you reach that point. Rest up, then start again. You’ll get more done with less pain.
A 2017 article in the journal Diabetes Care explains that the goals for dietary change should be “healthful eating patterns emphasizing a variety of nutrient-dense foods in appropriate portion sizes.” Additional goals include achieving a healthy weight; attaining healthy blood sugar, blood pressure, and lipid levels; and reducing complications. The authors emphasize developing an individualized plan based on “personal and cultural preferences, health literacy and numeracy, access to healthful foods, willingness and ability to make behavioral changes, and barriers to change.”
Exercise naturally supports your metabolism by burning fat and building lean muscle. To prevent and reverse diabetes, make exercise a part of your daily routine. This doesn’t necessary mean that you have to spend time at the gym. Simple forms of physical activity, like getting outside and walking for 20 to 30 minute every day, can be extremely beneficial, especially after meals. Practicing yoga or stretching at home or in a studio is another great option.
In this diabetes-related complication, an uncooperative stomach is slow to move food into the intestine, and does so unpredictably. The symptoms of gastroparesis include upper abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, bloating, lack of appetite, and reflux, the flowing backward of stomach contents into the esophagus. Wild, unexplained swings in blood glucose are another clue that you may have gastroparesis. For example, blood glucose may go low if food isn’t absorbed until after mealtime insulin takes effect; later, blood glucose levels may spike, when the stomach finally ushers food into the intestine and there’s not enough remaining insulin on board.
Many people may not want to divulge their bathroom dramas to a doctor, or anyone, or may think that heartburn is common and no big deal. Everyone gets a tummy ache now and again, but if you have diabetes, GI symptoms may indicate that something is chronically wrong. “If it bothers you, it’s worth getting checked out,” says Bragg. With a proper diagnosis, you and your health care provider can come up with a plan to make your whole body feel a whole lot better.
The last time I was in Palm Springs was a year ago for the TEDMED conference (relational platform?), and at the time I was mystified. It was a full house at the price of $4,950 a ticket, even though TED Talks are available for free online. The videos can be sped up if the speaker is boring, segments can be skipped, and tabs can be opened to keep the talk running in the background while getting some email done or shopping for shoes. There would seem, then, very little reason to need to go to the actual conference, to sit through marathon sessions where a fair number of speakers mess up or forget their lines (as I did).
Without insulin, that extra sugar starts to hang out in your blood with nowhere to go. Just like with honey or sweet syrup, high concentrations of sugar causes the blood to thicken. Physiologically, this pulls fluids and water from other parts of the body into the bloodstream, causing swelling and dryness. Early symptoms of diabetes are relatively mild, including excessive peeing, dry mouth, itchy skin, hunger, fatigue, and blurred vision.
In gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), sometimes called heartburn, stomach acid and partially undigested food move backward through the esophagus, escaping from the stomach and through the esophageal sphincter that normally prevents such backsliding. This can occur as a symptom of gastroparesis, says Hiroshi Mashimo, MD, PhD, a gastroenterologist at Harvard Medical School. “If the stomach doesn’t empty, it’s likely to reflux up,” he says. GERD may also result from diabetes-related nerve damage affecting the esophageal sphincter, Mashimo adds. One caution: Some diseases, such as a yeast infection in the esophagus, can masquerade as GERD, so don’t brush off symptoms. We can’t treat the gastroparesis or esophageal sphincter problems that contribute to GERD, but antacids and other medications can help to reduce or neutralize stomach acids (see “PPIs the Right Way,” below).