15 June 2017
This National Diabetes Week, Professor John New discusses developments in the fight against diabetes here.
This week is National Diabetes Week, where we are asked to know diabetes and fight diabetes.
Never has the ability to fight diabetes been so hopeful.
Whilst the headline stories focus on the huge increase in the numbers of people with diabetes, especially people with type 2 diabetes, the modern treatments and preventative care means that fewer people develop complications from their diabetes. This is wonderful news, but not always highlighted in the press.
When I qualified as a diabetes specialist, many years ago, treatments for people with type 2 diabetes was rather limited. The only treatments available then were metformin, sulphonylureas and then insulin. Whilst these were okay, apart from metformin, they tended to be associated with weight gain and hypoglycaemia. Weight gain is especially disappointing as the weight gain tends to worsen diabetes control, needing yet more treatment. Fortunately, over the last 15 years we have gained many more medications which let your doctor tailor your treatment according to your needs. These treatments, as well as improving your diabetes, don't cause hypoglycaemia, can help maintain your weight, whilst some usually cause weight loss! How much better than in years gone by.
For people with type 1 diabetes there have been great changes. Whilst newer insulins, either faster or longer lasting, are being developed, I think the real breakthroughs have been the increased use of insulin pumps and continuous glucose monitoring. These give people the tools they need to help improve their diabetes. I especially like the Abbott FreeStyle Libre device that provides two weeks continuous glucose recording without the need for regular finger blood testing.
These improvements in diabetes treatments, along with an appreciation that regular preventative screening is beneficial, has seen the incidence of the nasty diabetes related complications, such as diabetic eye disease, considerably reduced. At Spire Manchester Hospital, with Professor Stanga, we provide an integrated diabetes and eye service. For more information about this service please contact us.
This Diabetes Week, make sure that you're fighting diabetes with the best treatments and clinicians, and I am sure we will beat diabetes.