Diabetes is a chronic incurable disease. Over the last 34 years, the number of people who have diabetes increased four times, from 108 million to 422 million. In 2018, 10.5% of the USA population was diagnosed with diabetes, and 34.5% of the adult population — prediabetes. Diabetes is the main cause (according to the WHO) of blindness, heart attacks, kidney failure, and limb amputation. Diabetes is also considered one of the 10 leading causes of death.
Diabetes Care Management
In the USA, around 5% of the population has type 1 diabetes (known as insulin-dependent or juvenile), 12% of them are children under 19 years old. Remaining 95% has type 2 diabetes (often referred to as non-insulin-dependent or adult-onset).
In 2017, the USA spent a total of $237 billion for healthcare of patients with diabetes, $90 billion more was spent due to the patients’ reduced productivity. Among diabetic patients, average medical expenditures were 2.3 times higher than of non-diabetic.
Diabetes is characterized by abnormal blood levels of glucose due to the lack of insulin promoting glucose absorption by cells (type 1 diabetes) or due to the weak sensitivity of the insulin receptors (type 2 diabetes). The main aim of diabetes management is to maintain blood glucose and glycated (glycosylated) hemoglobin levels within the normal range. Apart from glucose, it is important to monitor some other parameters, such as blood pressure, cholesterol and triglyceride levels.
Due to the dysfunctional pancreas, which is not able to synthesize insulin in sufficient quantities, type 1 diabetes can be controlled only by insulin administration. In contrast, type 2 diabetes can be effectively prevented and delayed by a non-medication treatment, such as weight loss, regular visits of a health care professional for monitoring the health condition, moderate physical activity, a balanced diet, quitting smoking and drinking alcohol.
For patients with type 1 diabetes, the only way to maintain a normal level of blood sugar is to administer insulin. There are two administration methods — injections and a pump. Both imply that a patient should regularly administer insulin to his body by himself (or with the help of relatives or parents). Regardless of the type, patients are also required to control their blood glucose values and prevent spikes throughout the day.
There is no one standard plan of how diabetes should be managed. Each patient is unique, with the unique combination of various factors affecting medication choice, insulin dose, diet, and regime. It is crucially important that a healthcare professional has all the patient’s health information at hand, before giving any recommendations or medication plan. Encouraging patients to be more aware of their disease by providing them with the relevant and evidence-based information about how to improve their conditions, as well as to train on how to measure and analyze their body parameters to be able to recognize the dangerous symptoms and ask for professional help in time are what modern healthcare system needs to adopt.
In 2019 Solve.Care announced their mutual project with the Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals, Inc. to launch the Diabetes Care Administrative Network which is an innovative solution to the above-mentioned problems in diabetes care management. The Network combines the blockchain technology of data encryption and cognitive learning to simplify the access to the patients’ data, coordinate patients’ treatment among other physicians, create the network of diabetes patients, and to encourage patients’ family members to help their loved ones.
“The Diabetes Care Administration Network will help bridge a knowledge gap by providing a platform that offers vital information on diabetes and cardiovascular diseases in an easily accessible manner,” said Solve.Care CEO Pradeep Goel. “This is invaluable in the healthcare ecosystem as it allows patients to gain a better understanding of their disease while also coordinating their care needs.”
Managing type 2 diabetes
In contrast to patients with type 1 diabetes, type 2 can be effectively treated without insulin administration, often by only lifestyle changes. Thus, dietary changes reduce glycated hemoglobin value in adults by up to 2%. It is required to decrease the number of processed carbohydrates and consider the glycemic index and load of the meal.
Physical activity promotes muscle growth and increases the amount of glucose the body can burn at rest, resulting in better insulin sensitivity. 30 minutes of moderate exercises a day (such as walking) results in better triglycerides and glucose values for both diabetes types. Apart from exercises, diet, and sufficient hydration, it is worth mentioning stress management, quitting drinking alcohol and smoking.
Lifestyle changes prevent the development of many compilations and associated risks (such as eye, kidney, or heart disorders) but highly dependent on the patient’s will and capabilities. In some cases, medication treatment may be required to reduce blood sugar or assisting weight loss. All medications for this type are designed to increase cells’ response to insulin or increase insulin formation by the pancreas, decrease glucose amount, carbohydrates absorption, or delaying nutrient absorption.
Originally published at https://solve.care.