What is diabetes? Diabetes is a metabolic disease that causes a surge in blood sugar levels. It has different types, mainly type 1 and type 2 diabetes. It also occurs in pregnant women and is called gestational diabetes. Without proper treatment, diabetes can lead to different complications involving the nerves, kidneys, eyes, and other body organs.
What are the main treatment options for people with diabetes? Let us learn from each type and discover the newest treatment for diabetes in recent years.
Type 1 diabetes treatment
Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease. The body’s immune system mistakenly attacks its own body, specifically the insulin-producing cells or organs, which results in the emergence of diabetes. In this case, an insulin replacement is necessary. Consider the following insulin types that people with type 1 diabetes can use:
- Rapid-acting insulin
- Short-acting insulin
- Intermediate-acting insulin
- Long-acting insulin
- Ultra-long-acting insulin
- Premixed insulin
Type 2 diabetes treatment
Being overweight or obese increases an individual’s risk for type 2 diabetes. Studies suggest that it is through a combination of genetics and lifestyle factors that leads to type 2 diabetes developing. When someone is carrying extra weight in their body, their cells become resistant to the functions of insulin, thus resulting in increased blood sugar levels. The following oral medications are used to treat this condition:
- Alpha-Glucosidase Inhibitors (Acarbose and Miglitol)
- Biguanides (Metformin)
- DPP-4 Inhibitors (Alogliptin, Linagliptin, Saxagliptin, Sitagliptin)
- Glucagon-like Peptides (Semaglutide, Dulaglutide, Exenatide, Liraglutide)
- Meglitinides (Nateglinide and Repaglinide)
- SGLT2 Inhibitors (Canagliflozin, Dapagliflozin, Empagliflozin)
- Sulfonylureas (Glyburide, Glipizide, and Glimepiride)
- Thiazolidinediones (Pioglitazone and Rosiglitazone)
The newest treatment for diabetes
Alongside the advancement in the medical field, a significant breakthrough was seen in creating the most effective diabetes treatment, especially for people with type 1 and type 2 diabetes.
A study conducted by Monash University in Melbourne, Australia, made headlines in discovering a pathway toward insulin regeneration in pancreatic stem cells. Researchers used the pancreas stem cells of a diabetic donor and were able to reactivate them through the use of a drug approved by the FDA (Food and Drug Administration).
Further work is still necessary to allow this principle to enter the world of diabetes medications and enable insulin-producing cells to reactivate their functions in balancing the body’s blood sugar levels.
Other than this breakthrough, on May 13, 2022, the Food and Drug Administration approved the use of an injectable medication called Mounjaro (Tirzepatide). This medication, in addition to diet and exercise programs, can help in the treatment of Type 2 diabetes. It acts by activating hormones that regulate the release of insulin and slow digestion. This helps lower blood sugar levels. After clinical trials, regulators concluded that Mounjaro was effective enough in improving blood sugar levels to be the first in its class to be approved for sale.
For now, Mounjaro is only prescribed to adults with type 2 diabetes. It is not yet approved for usage by children or teens. Research into more effective treatments and prevention for this chronic disease is ongoing.