4 Things to Know About Type 2 Diabetes

(DGIwire) – What new treatments for Type 2 diabetes lie on the horizon? Today’s researchers are utilizing a vast array of cutting-edge technologies to learn more about this condition and explore potential new therapies. For those keeping track of this exciting area of medicine, it’s important to learn the basics first. Here are a few quick facts to know about Type 2 diabetes.

  • What causes Type 2 diabetes? Insulin is a hormone made by the pancreas that acts like a key to let blood sugar into the cells in the body for use as energy, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports. Those with Type 2 diabetes don’t respond normally to insulin. The pancreas makes more insulin to try to get cells to respond. Eventually the pancreas can’t keep up and blood sugar rises, setting the stage for prediabetes and Type 2 diabetes.
  • What are the symptoms of Type 2 diabetes? According to the CDC, common symptoms can include frequent urination, often at night; excessive thirst; losing weight without trying; excessive hunger; blurry vision; numb or tingling hands or feet; excessive fatigue; very dry skin; sores that heal slowly; and more infections than usual. Such symptoms often develop over several years and can go a long time without being noticed.
  • How can Type 2 diabetes be managed? A doctor may prescribe insulin, other injectable medications or oral diabetes medicines to help control blood sugar and avoid complications, notes the CDC. Blood sugar levels should be checked regularly. It is also important to keep blood pressure and cholesterol under control and get necessary screening tests.
  • What are some recent research advances in Type 2 diabetes? “Drug development for Type 2 diabetes is a thriving area of research today and one that is being helped by rapid innovation in the area of instrumentation,” says Jeffrey Duchemin, President and CEO of Harvard Bioscience. “Advances in this area are helping to shed light on how cells in the pancreas secrete insulin and how different drugs can impact these cells.”

Multi Channel Systems, a subsidiary of Harvard Bioscience, has developed a noninvasive platform for diabetes research using microelectrode arrays (MEA) to take measurements from intact Islets of Langerhans—the location of insulin-producing beta cells. Microelectrode arrays are devices that measure the electrical activity of cells or tissues in a laboratory setting. The Beta-Screen-System uses MEAs to record this activity without damaging cell membranes; therefore, data obtained from these experiments is more physiologically relevant.

This technology allows cell activity to be recorded over time, providing insight into how beta cells secrete insulin and the effect of various drugs on insulin production.

“Technical advances such as this could pave the way for the discovery of powerful, new medicines in the treatment of Type 2 diabetes,” Duchemin adds.

 

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