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Devices for the Self-Treatment of Diabetes

Jul 23, 2008
Although diabetics must rely on medical professionals for periodic lab testing and medical exams, they usually handle their daily treatment regimen themselves. Self-monitoring of glucose levels is a must.

Today, there many easier and more pain-free way to handle treatment, than in the past. These new treatment options ease the burden of diabetes by being reliable and convenient options for self-care.

A few people with Type 2 diabetes control their disease primarily through exercise and diet. Some of these people are actually pre-diabetics, rather than diabetics, meaning that their glucose levels are high, but not at the diabetic level.

Most people with Type 2 and Type 1 must manage their glucose through treatment. Insulin is generally needed.

In the past, insulin had to be injected with a glass syringe. This was difficult; the injection site and needle had to be sterilized, before one could inject oneself. The dosage had to be measured. While this route was far better than suffering the ill-effects of diabetes, it was burdensome.

Self-injection is still necessary for many diabetics, but nowadays they have easier ways to do it.

Insulin Pens

Pre-filled insulin pens are a newer option for injecting insulin. The dosage comes in a pre-measured cartridge and the needle is already sterilized. The pens are available in all the many insulin formulations. Most are pre-set to inject 300 units, but they can be adjusted.

A knob on the pen's end allows the user to adjust the dose. The new dose is displayed on a window. The pre-sterilized needle is in the pen's tip. Without looking for a vein, the user inserts the needle under the skin and the insulin is released. The needle and dosage cartridge are disposable; in some cases the pen is as well.

Insulin Pumps

Insulin pumps, the size of a little cell phone, are another option. This is a fairly new product. Most pumps are external, but some are placed under the skin. Both kinds of insulin pumps are monitored by a computer-controlled device. The device checks the blood glucose level and dispenses insulin when needed. Insulin comes through a plastic tube tipped with a cannula (soft plastic needle-like implement). A cannula may be permanently implanted in the abdomen.

Over the course of 24-hours, the insulin is delivered as needed. This is easier on the body than older methods and highly accurate.

Other delivery methods are still being tried, some of which work reasonably well.

Pills and Inhalers

Pills could be an easy way to take insulin, but stomach enzymes interfere with this method. Oral insulin delivery may be practical if newly-developed pill coatings can prevent insulin from being degraded.

Nasal insulin delivery is similarly problematic. Inhaling insulin irritates the nasal passages. Oral inhalers can cause mouth dryness and coughing, but they can get the job done. For some people, they are a good option.

Research is being conducted on more advanced treatment forms. Gene therapy and pancreas cell transplants to cure diabetes are some of the options. For now though, diabetics must settle for the newer insulin delivery devices, rather than a cure.
About the Author
Julia Hanf author of the book How To Play the Diabetes Diet Game and Win Through a real life crisis Julia figured out how to live diabetes free. Visit http://www.yourdiabetescure.com and learn more about your solution for diabetes.
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