Have you ever asked yourself, can diabetes be cured, or is type 1 diabetes curable?
To answer these questions are like looking for a needle in a haystack. But what really is diabetes and what is causing it? Diabetes is a kind of disease where the body is no longer able to produce sufficient amount of insulin (hormone in the pancreas that controls the production of glucose in the blood), thus increases the level of sugar in the blood.
How does it happen?
The pancreas is where the insulin is made. The pancreas consists of islets. In the islets are the Beta cells where insulin is made and diffused into the blood. These cells are also responsible in regulating the blood sugar in the body in order for the blood count to remain on its normal level. The insulin plays a vital role because if there is no insulin, the sugar remains in the blood instead of being distributed all throughout the body which the cells use for energy.
The glucose level accumulates once the Beta cells are no longer producing adequate amount of insulin, or if the body is no longer responding to the insulin that is drawn-out by the Beta cells.
When the sugar level in the body becomes too high, it causes damage in different parts of the body including the blood vessel plus a vast array of complications may arise such as loss of vision, strokes and heart attacks, impotence or erectile dysfunction, kidney failure or kidney disease that requires dialysis, poor healing of wounds that may lead to amputation, neuropathy (nerve damage), and suppression of the immune system causing risks for infections and poor blood circulation to the legs and feet.
What is type 1 diabetes?
Type 1 diabetes is also known as the “insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus.” It is a condition where the pancreas is producing very little amount of insulin to nothing at all. With this type of diabetes, the beta cells are pounced on by the body’s immune system as it mistakenly sees these Insulin producing cells (beta cells) as extraneous, hence, disabling the pancreas to produce sufficient insulin to regulate the level of glucose in the body. This attack is called, “autoimmune disease.”
In type 1 diabetes, beta cell destruction happens after several years, when the insulin producing cells in the body were 90 percent destroyed. However, its symptoms usually progress over a short span of time.
Type 1 diabetes normally strikes in young adults and children (though it may also occur at any age) that is why Type 1 diabetes was also known as “juvenile diabetes.”
Symptoms of Type 1 Diabetes
- Rapid, deep breathing
- Flushing of the face
- Mouth and skin become dry
- Increased in thirst
- Fruity breath smell
- Vision becomes blurred
- Frequent urination
- Bed wetting for children who do not usually wet the bed at night
- Sudden weight loss
- Excessive hunger
- Vaginal yeast infection in females
Cure for Type 1 Diabetes
Going back to the question, can diabetes be cured? Or, can type 1 diabetes be cured? Attempts have been done to find cure for diabetes. However, the antidote either for diabetes type 1 or type 2 is still not established. Sadly, they have not yet found the guaranteed treatment to replenish the cells that have been destroyed to treat this disease.
After the 90% destruction of the insulin producing cells (Beta cells), the attack to the Beta cells goes on continuously. And according to Scientists, those who have been diagnosed with type 1 diabetes should right away take insulin injection in order to preserve the remaining Beta cells (insulin producing cells) a bit longer because as the annihilation of the beta cells continues, the more insulin shots would be needed by the patient which makes the patient fully dependent on insulin injections to survive resulting to lifetime insulin dependence for those inflicted with this disease.
In 2010, a hope to cure type 1 diabetes was reported by Brian Williams on NBC News. According to the testing result of the research team lead by Dr. Richard Burt of Northwestern University Feinberg School, 14 out of 15 people seemed to be cured as they didn’t need insulin shots for as long as 3 years. During the testing, according to the reporter, “In the treatment, the researchers actually knocked out the patient’s own immune system, putting them on high risk for infection. Then they coaxed the immune system to rebuild itself with adult stem cells from the person’s same blood.”
In depth research, studies and testing for the permanent remission of diabetes go on up to now. And very recently, NBC Night News reported that Scientists have found a hope for a Type 1 diabetes cure. Though the successful result of the treatment of diabetes type 1 were proven only on lab mice, using drugs that are out in the market to cure cancer such as Gleevec (imatinib mesylate) that is used to treat leukemia and other cancers, and Sutent (sunitinib) which is used to treat pancreatic cancer, gastrointestinal stromal tumor and renal cell carcinoma, gives so much hope to the uncountable diabetes type inflicted people suffering a lifetime treatment of insulin shots, regular monitoring of their blood sugar, being deprived of foods and spending thousands of dollars on medications.
According to the Director of Stem Cell Development of Miami, Dr. Juan Domiguez-Bendala, he is thoroughly working on a number of projects to treat type 1 diabetes by way of embryonic stem cells.
Many scientists, doctors and research groups these days are continually and thoroughly working on to reverse type 1 diabetes using stem cells. Everybody holds to their hopes that through stem cells, their surmise be confirmed. Maybe, a few more years are needed to establish their findings that will guarantee us of the cure of this untreatable disease.