Changes on the Horizon

I wanted to share with you a few exciting things that I read about today.  As with anything in the world of medicine, things evolve and change.  And diabetes is no different.  We are constantly “on the move” as doctors and pharmacists, trying to improve our efforts in helping you fight against diabetes.  Today I found out about two pieces of news that could directly affect type 2 diabetics in the very near future, and I wanted you to know about them right away.

The first thing I would like to share with you is a report on some very exciting research that the Harvard Stem Cell Institute has been working on.  I have talked previously about insulin and how it works to help control your blood sugars.  Insulin is made by special cells in your pancreas called beta cells.  One of the things that happens in diabetes is that your beta cells do not produce enough insulin to overcome the amounts of sugar in your blood.  But the folks at the Harvard Stem Cell Institute think that they might be close to finding an innovative way to fix that.

Researchers have discovered a hormone that encourages the body to produce more beta cells, which in turn will increase the amount of insulin that can be made.  This hormone is called betatrophin.  Right now their research is being done in mice; they hope to eventually make betatrophin as an injectable product, like insulin, so that it can be given to people with diabetes.  This research is still in its very early stages, but it is an exciting development that I wanted to share with you all.  You can read more about it here.

The second bit of news that I have is something that will excite both you and your health care team.  In health care we use guidelines called “algorithms” to help decide how to treat certain diseases.  Algorithms are based upon lots of studies and clinical experience, and updates are published every so often.  As you might have now guessed, there is an algorithm for type 2 diabetes that many of us use as the standard.

The American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists (AACE) publishes guidelines that are used as a tool for treating type 2 diabetes.  These guidelines were just updated and published within the last few months.  I’m not going to go into all of the specifics of the guidelines except to say that this time the focus has been shifted to include management of obesity, heart health, and prediabetes because they are so important in helping prevent diabetes.  You already know how important those things are, but the exciting news is that we are now focusing on stopping diabetes in its tracks before other people have to face the disease.

The new guidelines also talk about A1c goals and which medications we should try first.  Newer medications have been added to the algorithm, so this will give your doctor a good idea of when to try one of the newer medications that have come out since the last guidelines were published.  Since the guidelines have been updated so recently, this would be a great chance for you to sit down with your doctor and discuss your medications and your diabetes.  It is always best to keep up-to-date on the changes that are going on that will affect your health.  If you are interested in seeing all of the wonderful, colorful charts from the AACE, I have provided a link.

As a disclaimer, I am your “virtual” pharmacist, here to provide you with information and answers to questions.  However, I am not your local pharmacist and could, in no way, be aware of your specific medical needs.  Remember to always check with your medical provider and pharmacist before stopping or starting any new medications.  My posts are based on general pharmacy principles and should not considered as your “first opinion” when it comes to your health.  Please consult with your doctor and pharmacist about anything regarding your health.

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Posted in Meds and More!

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