Skip to content
My WebMD Sign In, Sign Up

Diabetes Health Center

Font Size

With Cell Transplants, Diabetics Able to Stop Insulin Shots

continued...

Additional studies of islet transplantation are planned in Canada and in the U.S., with funding from the National Institutes of Health.

In spite of the progress that has been made in recent years in controlling diabetes, associated conditions like kidney disease, blindness, or lower limb amputations remain a tremendous problem. Until recently, it wasn't clear what caused these long-term consequences. Now, according to Eva Feldman, MD, Ph.D, a neurologist at the University of Michigan Health System, it appears that high sugar levels in the blood have a toxic effect on the body's nerves.

In another presentation at the meeting, she said that studies in both animals and people have shown that increased sugar levels, as seen in diabetes, overload the mitochondria that serve as an energy source for cells in the body. The result is an increased level of waste products that can't be cleared by the body's 'antioxidative' defense mechanism. The rogue wastes then go on to damage healthy tissues, which ultimately leads to cell death though what's called 'oxidative stress.'

"So with diabetes, what you get is progressive loss of nerve cell fibers, and when you have this loss of nerve fibers, you lose your ability to feel," Feldman says. What's needed, she says, are new drugs that reduce this process. Currently, she says, two studies of a vitamin E-like compound, called alpha-lipoic acid, are under way.

"I give all my patients 2,000 units of vitamin E," Feldman says, "and I do it because it's the best antioxidant available."

 

1|2

Is This Normal? Get the Facts Fast!

Check Your Blood Sugar Level Now
What type of diabetes do you have?
Your gender:

Get the latest Diabetes newsletter delivered to your inbox!


or
Answer:
Low
0-69
Normal
70-130
High
131+

Your level is currently

If the level is below 70 or you are experiencing symptoms such as shaking, sweating or difficulty thinking, you will need to raise the number immediately. A quick solution is to eat a few pieces of hard candy or 1 tablespoon of sugar or honey. Recheck your numbers again in 15 minutes to see if the number has gone up. If not, repeat the steps above or call your doctor.

People who experience hypoglycemia several times in a week should call their health care provider. It's important to monitor your levels each day so you can make sure your numbers are within the range. If you are pregnant always consult with your health care provider.

Congratulations on taking steps to manage your health.

However, it's important to continue to track your numbers so that you can make lifestyle changes if needed. If you are pregnant always consult with your physician.

Your level is high if this reading was taken before eating. Aim for 70-130 before meals and less than 180 two hours after meals.

Even if your number is high, it's not too late for you to take control of your health and lower your blood sugar.

One of the first steps is to monitor your levels each day. If you are pregnant always consult with your physician.

Did You Know Your Lifestyle Choices
Affect Your Blood Sugar?

Use the Blood Glucose Tracker to monitor
how well you manage your blood sugar over time.

Get Started

This tool is not intended for women who are pregnant.

Start Over

Step:  of 

Today on WebMD

Woman holding cake
Slideshow
feet
Slideshow
 
man organizing pills
Slideshow
Close up of eye
Slideshow
 

Woman serving fast food from window
Video
Can Vinegar Treat Diabetes
Video
 
Middle aged person
Tool
are battery operated toothbrushes really better
Video
 

Prediabetes How to Prevent Type 2 Diabetes
Article
type 2 diabetes
Slideshow
 
food fitness planner
Tool
Are You at Risk for Dupuytrens Contracture
Article