National Diabetes Month 2020

For young people, learning to manage the condition is so important. There is a wealth of information out there that can help youths understand the effects of the condition, how to treat it and how to manage it through their lifetime. Caring for the mental health of young people is also crucial. Dealing with a chronic condition can be a frightening and confusing time. Moving into adult care as they grow up with diabetes will also take time to understand the transition and how their treatment may change.

Written by: Vanessa Dekou

Time taken to read: 5 minutes

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Summary

This time is an opportunity to improve the education surrounding diabetes and bring awareness to the chronic condition. Diabetes is one of the most common chronic conditions affecting young people in the United States. According to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, approximately 193,000 young people under 20 years old are affected by the disease.

What are the types of diabetes?

Diabetes affects the levels of insulin in a person’s blood. There are two forms of diabetes; type 1 and type 2. Type 1 diabetes results from the body’s failure to produce insulin which leads to a high level of glucose in the bloodstream. It is treated by injecting insulin into the body daily to keep blood glucose levels under control. Type 2 diabetes means your body cannot make enough insulin or make the insulin it produces work properly. This type can be treated with medicated insulin, and it can also be managed through a healthy diet and exercise.

How is diabetes treated?

The medicine diabetes patients take depends on the type of diabetes they have and how well the medicine controls their blood glucose levels. Different diabetes treatments work in different ways to lower blood sugar and often a combination of medicines is required to treat the condition effectively.

Type 1 diabetes must use insulin as the body cannot produce it. It is the most common type of diabetes in children. Type 2 diabetes does not always require insulin, it can be managed with a healthy lifestyle, oral medication or some may need insulin depending on the patient. Medication can change over time depending on how your body reacts at different stages of the chronic condition. Young people with diabetes will experience a change in medication or lifestyle as they transition into adult care.

A management plan can help young people understand their diabetes care. The plan should outline how to manage blood glucose levels, encourage healthy eating habits, encourage physical movement, prepare for emergencies and seek mental health support. A diabetes management plan can support young people to take actionable steps towards their condition care.

Insulin treatment

There are different types of insulin available to treat diabetes. Each type works at different speeds and the effects last a different length of time. They can be administered in many ways depending on the patient’s preference. The type of insulin prescribed by doctors depends on the type of diabetes, how the body reacts to the treatment, other health conditions and the patient’s financial position. Young people will need support from parents or carers when administering insulin if they find it uncomfortable or are too young to handle the needles themselves. As they get older, they will eventually be able to do this without any help.

Types of insulin:

  • Rapid-acting - works 15 minutes after injection, peaks at 1 hour, lasts 2 to 4 hours
  • Short-acting - works 30 minutes after injection, peaks at 2 to 3 hours, lasts 3 to 6 hours
  • Intermediate-acting - works 2 to 4 hours after injection, peaks at 4 to 12 hours, lasts 12 to 18 hours
  • Long-acting - works several hours after injection, does not peak, lasts for 24 hours.

 

Types of insulin administration:

  • Needle and syringe - draw the dose of insulin from the vial into the syringe and inject it into the belly, thigh, buttocks or upper arm once or two to four times a day.
  • Pen - some come filled with insulin and are disposable and others require patients to insert an insulin cartridge and replace after use. Pens cost more than needles but are easier to use.
  • Pump - provides a small, steady dose of insulin throughout the day. Insulin pumps from the pack worn outside the body through the tube and into the needle inserted under the skin. The needle lasts for several days and pumps insulin into the body 24 hours a day.

Importance of diabetes clinical trial participation

Diabetes clinical trials are essential to understand more about the disease and how it affects those diagnosed and pre-diagnosed. Before diabetes treatments can reach patients, they must be carefully tested in clinical trials. People with diabetes are crucial to the success of clinical trials. Clinical trial participation ensures scientists and researchers can understand the timelines of recognising symptoms and diagnosing diabetes.

Diabetes patients can get involved in clinical trials to test medication and learn which treatments are or are not the most effective for the type of diabetes they have. Researchers can learn which medicine has the fewest side effects and which are the most helpful for long-term diabetes treatment. For example, The Glycemia Reduction Approaches in Diabetes: A Comparative Effectiveness Study is looking into the lives of over 5,000 people in the United States with type 2 diabetes to find out which combination of two medications is best for blood sugar management.

Clinical trials can look into the genetics behind diabetes and the risks associated with relatives of people with type 1 diabetes. This is referred to as prediabetes. For example, TrialNet is conducting research that includes risk screening for relatives of those diagnosed with type 1 diabetes and how to slow down the disease. Clinical trials also study other aspects of care such as improving the quality of life for people with chronic illnesses.

Diabetes is a chronic condition that affects the lives of hundreds of thousands of young people in the United States. Raising awareness of the disease and its treatment is imperative for young children to receive the support and care they need. Taking part in clinical trials improves the progress made in diabetes research. Coming together, communities can bring attention to diabetes to learn how to best manage, treat and slow down this disease.

At CSI we have worked on many diabetes studies and have assisted successfully delivering thousands of pens all over the world. We have well-established relationships with all leading manufacturers and as such we can provide cost-efficient and timely solutions and design a robust supply chain to advance your trial.

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