Living with diabetes blog

Future holds hope for managing diabetes

By Nancy Klobassa Davidson, R.N. and Peggy Moreland, R.N. March 30, 2010

A year ago, my son was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at the age of 23. He is a fourth year cadet at United States Military Academy at West Point. His desire was to continue to serve as an officer in the U.S. Army. For the last nine months, he has worked hard to prove to the military medical review board that he can manage his diabetes while serving.

I'm proud to say that he has brought his A1c down to 5.6 while continuing his rigorous regimen at West Point. He has high hopes of being able to graduate as an officer. Another cadet with type 1 diabetes in the 2009 graduating class was the first ever to graduate from West Point. My son would be the second. Knowing him, he won't be content with a desk job. He is planning on being deployed to the Middle East.

Since the discovery of insulin less than 100 years ago, diabetes treatment and technology have come a long way in helping people with diabetes manage their disease. Both of my sons use an insulin pump. But, it doesn't stop with home blood glucose monitoring and insulin pumps. To name a few:

  • New computer programs help analyze blood glucose data.
  • Mobile applications for recording your blood glucoses and the ability to email your healthcare provider with the results.
  • Insulin pens make giving injections easier and more discreetly.
  • New medications to treat insulin resistance
  • Continuous glucose monitoring sensors are becoming more widely used.

I've read recently that researchers are working on a device that will regulate blood glucose levels on its own, i.e. an "artificial pancreas." This device is actually being built and is undergoing testing. This artificial pancreas is actually a marriage between the insulin pump, the continuous glucose monitor, and a computer program that calculates how much insulin the user needs at any moment based on his blood glucose level.

Having two sons with type 1 diabetes, I'm encouraged for their future. What are your thoughts?

Mar. 30, 2010