Game Changer for Type 2 Diabetes
It’s been called the largest epidemic in human history. Not COVID – diabetes. More than 37 million Americans are living with it right now, and more than 90 percent of those have Type 2 diabetes. Seven million people rely on a daily insulin shot to manage their condition. Now, a breakthrough in the diabetes world may simplify the future of diabetes treatment.
Wherever you are, whatever you’re doing — needing insulin to treat diabetes can be difficult.
Forty-eight-year-old Chris Sheridan was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes 20 years ago and has been checking his glucose levels every day for years, now.
“I had to give myself a shot every day,” he tells Ivanhoe.
Chris had to remember to take his insulin while working on his Jeep, and then, making sure he has it when he’s in the middle of nowhere. Then, Chris was offered to be part of a clinical trial that would allow him to take only one insulin shot a week.
Adult endocrinologist at Scripps Whittier Diabetes Institute, Athene Philis-Tsimikas, MD, explains, “It is taking the same molecule of insulin, a human insulin, a synthetic human insulin, but it’s been altered a little bit and allows it to last longer in the body and get taken up a little bit slower.”
Dr. Philis-Tsimikas is part of the team leading an international study comparing the new once-weekly shot to the daily insulin shots.
“There was not only equal lowering of the blood sugar to an equivalent amount between the two groups, but there was actually greater lowering, better blood glucose control,” Dr. Philis-Tsimikas further explains.
This one shot may give millions of people new hope in the new year.
“When you think about a once-weekly injection for people with diabetes, they’re going from having to take 365 injections a year to only 52 times a year. And although this might not seem like a lot to you and me, to the person having to do the injection, it can be incredibly significant,” Dr. Philis-Tsimikas emphasizes.
Novo Nordisk, in Denmark, created the once-weekly insulin shot. They plan to file for market approval in the United States, Europe, and China early next year. That means it could hit doctors’ offices by mid-2023.
Type 2 diabetes is an impairment in the way the body regulates and uses sugar as a fuel. This long-term condition results in too much sugar circulating in the bloodstream. Eventually, high blood sugar levels can lead to disorders of the circulatory, nervous and immune systems. Type 2 diabetes used to be known as adult-onset diabetes, but both type 1 and type 2 diabetes can begin during childhood and adulthood. Type 2 is more common in older adults, but the increase in the number of children with obesity has led to more cases of type 2 diabetes in younger people. More than 37 million Americans have diabetes (about 1 in 10), and approximately 90-95% of them have type 2 diabetes. Type 2 diabetes most often develops in people over age 45, but more and more children, teens, and young adults are also developing it.
The symptoms of type 2 diabetes can be so mild that you don’t notice them. About 8 million people who have it don’t know it. Symptoms include being very thirsty, constant urination, blurry vision, fatigue, wounds that won’t heal, unintentional weight loss, and/or frequent infections. Your doctor can test your blood for signs of type 2 diabetes. Usually, they’ll test you on two days to confirm the diagnosis. But if your blood glucose is very high or you have many symptoms, one test may be all you need.