Tuesday April 24, 2018

Diabetes would become a curable disease in the next few years, say researchers

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Washington: Although the way diabetics test their glucose levels has gone through dramatic changes over the past 50 years, there is still a long way to go, say researchers.

Earlier, the only way to assess diabetes control was by testing for the presence of sugar in a person’s urine, today there are numerous, far more accurate ways to test blood glucose levels.

There is a non-invasive A1C method which measures average blood glucose levels over a three-month period.

“This gives us a nice marker for showing whether a person is on the right road or not,” said Fred Whitehouse, division head emeritus at the Henry Ford Health System in Detroit.

“There has been a lot of change, most of it for the better. But what people want is a cure and we don’t have that yet”, he added.

“Despite the enormous growth in our understanding of diabetes and its complications, we are still only able to manage the disease,” noted Robert Ratner, Chief Scientific and Medical Officer for the American Diabetes Association.

The reason diabetes is a serious health problem is because of the complications.

“If there were no complications, diabetes would be like hypothyroidism and other easily managed diseases. You would take a tablet to replace the hormone and everything would be fine,” said Michael Brownlee from the Albert Einstein College of Medicine’s Diabetes Research Centre.

New treatments must provide optimal glucose and metabolic control without the risk of hypoglycemia and complications of diabetes should become historical memories.

Also, every person with diabetes needs to create a system for remembering and dealing with his or her own treatment.

“The next 50 years must elucidate the mechanisms by which both Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes occur, along with those critical steps at which we might intervene to prevent disease,” the authors emphasized during a special symposium held recently at the American Diabetes Association’s 75th scientific sessions. (IANS)

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Indian Entrepreneurs Build Mobile Apps To Help Patients With Diabetes

New app to help track diabetes in rural India

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check-up for diabetes
Check-up for Diabetes. Pixabay

Researchers have developed an innovative smartphone app that could enable community health workers track the growing burden of non-communicable diseases such as diabetes, especially in the rural areas.

Named “Smart Health”, the app will be used by community health workers called as ASHAs, who will be trained to screen and identify people suffering from diabetes or at high risk of the disease in the rural communities.

The ASHAs will then offer them lifestyle and diet advice, refer them to a doctor for drug treatment, and follow up on their adherence to treatment and control.

Diabetes
Diabetes. Pixabay

“Around 50 million people in India have Type 2 diabetes and that number is growing every year. The app will help people living in rural areas to access timely, affordable and guideline-based healthcare in the community, reduce the risk of developing life-threatening complications and ultimately save lives,” Vivekanand Jha, Professor and Executive Director of The George Institute for Global Health, said in a statement.

“Digital technology coupled with using the experience and knowledge of local health workers. This is innovation at its best,” he added.

An estimated 25 million people have diabetes in rural India and the number is rising rapidly, the statement said.

The app will expand the role of community health workers with digital technology and help address the growing burden on chronic disease.

It can also serve an example to other countries struggling with the rising cost of providing essential healthcare to their citizens, the researchers said.  IANS