World Diabetes Day
An estimated 415 million people are living with diabetes in the world.
Diabetes is a chronic disease, that causes blood sugar levels in your body to become too high, either due to your body not being able to respond properly to insulin or due to your body not being unable to produce any at all. If left untreated, this can lead to serious complications such as heart attack, stroke, obesity, eye disease, kidney disease and nerve damage.
World Diabetes Day is held on the 14th of November yearly to mark the birthday of Sir Frederick Banting, the co-founder of insulin. It’s the world’s largest diabetes awareness campaign reaching a global audience of over 1 billion people in more than 160 countries.
Insulin plays a massive role in diabetes, so what is it? It is a hormone that is produced by the pancreas to control the amount of glucose in your bloodstream. If you have diabetes, it’s very likely your pancreas does not produce insulin or that your body has developed a resistance to insulin, meaning that it doesn’t work properly when reducing sugar.
Types of Diabetes
Type 1 diabetes
This is when the pancreas is unable to produce insulin due to the body destroying insulin-producing cells. Currently, there is no cure to reverse type 1 diabetes, but it can be treated by regular insulin injections or by insulin released slowly through an insulin pump.
Type 2 diabetes
This is the most common type of diabetes, with 90% of diabetes cases being type 2. With Type 2 diabetes, your pancreas is still able to make insulin, but the cells throughout your body aren’t able to use it effectively, and eventually, this leads to more and more glucose staying in the bloodstream and not being used by the cells. Type 2 diabetes is strongly associated with being overweight and obese.
This is when your blood sugar is higher than usual, but not high enough to be diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. Approximately 96 million American adults have prediabetes, with 80% unaware they do.
Symptoms of Diabetes
Type 1 diabetes is easier to identify as symptoms can appear suddenly whereas symptoms of type 2 can develop slowly over many years. Sometimes there are no symptoms with type 2 diabetes, which means it is currently significantly underdiagnosed. A study shows that as many as 6 out of 10 people have no symptoms when they’re diagnosed with type 2 diabetes.
Symptoms of diabetes include:
• Increased thirst
• Feeling very hungry
• Urinating a lot
• Losing weight without trying
• Feeling irritable or having other mood changes
• Feeling tired and weak
• Having blurry vision
Managing Type 2 Diabetes
You can find out if you are at high risk of developing type 2 diabetes by taking a 60-second test. Here is the link:
If you find that you are at high risk of developing type 2 diabetes, don’t worry, you can reduce your risk with some lifestyle changes:
The American Diabetes Association recommends that high-risk people should aim to lose 7-10% of their body weight to help prevent diabetes. People in a large study reduced their risk of developing diabetes by 60% after losing roughly 7% of their body weight.
If you are diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, it may be possible to put your diabetes into remission. Weight loss is thought to be the best way to achieve remission if you are overweight. Some research indicates that 9 out of ten obese people with type 2 diabetes are able to achieve remission after losing 15kg.
Weight loss can be achieved through exercise and a healthy diet.
There are many benefits of exercise such as:
• Helps with weight loss
• Reduces blood sugar
• Makes your body more sensitive to insulin
• Feeling happier
• Improved sleep
You should aim to get at least 150 minutes of exercise a week. Briskly walking for half an hour daily can reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes by 30%.
Eat a healthy diet
The risk of developing type 2 diabetes is greatly affected by four main dietary categories. Generally, it is advised to:
• Chose whole grain products over highly processed carbohydrates
• Avoid sugary drinks
• Chose food higher in healthy fats
• Limit red meat and try to avoid processed meat.
Type 2 diabetes patients should not smoke if they are at high risk. It is shown that smokers are 50% more likely to develop diabetes than non-smokers.
Wearable Technology to Treat Diabetes
Wearable tech is becoming more popular in the medical world as doctors and scientists are working together to make it easier to control your health problems. Wearable tech for diabetes is looking promising as medical manufacturers and well-established technology corporations work together to develop new technology. Diabetes management in the future could be in the form of smartwatches, earphones and even contact lenses.
An insulin pump is a small machine that gives you doses of insulin throughout the day through a patch attached to your body. It can be programmed to give you a certain amount of insulin depending on your needs.
There are some side effects of taking insulin such as:
- Weight gain
- Increased heart rate
- Skin irritation & sensitivity
Continuous Glucose Monitors (CGM)
Continuous glucose monitors are small sensors worn on the skin that tracks blood sugar levels automatically through a very small needle. It can stay in place for up to a few weeks (meaning you can avoid those nasty annoying finger pricks). CGMs provide data directly to your smartphone allowing you to make better-informed decisions throughout the day on how to manage your food, physical activity and medicine.
The most common CGMs are Dexcom, Lifestyle Libre and Eversense.
At Neurovalens, we are currently working on technology that could potentially become a non-invasive medical device that treats type 2 diabetes. Vestal DM is a wearable device that works by sending low-level electrical pulses into the part of the brain that helps detect and regulate blood sugar. It is worn on the head (like headphones) and is typically used when watching TV or browsing the internet in the evening.
We are currently running clinical trials for adults with Type 2 Diabetes in the UK, Ireland and the US. These clinical trials look at how blood sugar improves when using the device daily for 60 minutes over a period of 6 months. If this is something that you would be interested in, click on the link below to find out more. Alternatively, you can also email one of our team at firstname.lastname@example.org