Type 1 diabetes is undeniably on the rise. While the condition was once called “juvenile diabetes” due to its position as a children’s disease, increasing numbers of adults are finding themselves struck by the autoimmune disorder and staring down the barrel of a lifetime of costly injections, constant blood sugar checks, and perpetual worry.
As research continues to march on, and scientists strive to develop methods of improving lifestyles and life expectancies for diabetes patients, a cure may be on the horizon.
Why does a cure seem imminent? Ultimately, because a cure has already been discovered, as 64-year-old Chris Schuh can attest. Diagnosed at the age of 30, Schuh was terrified she would be confined to her home, unable to see her children grow up and to survive past the age of 50. Happily, at 64, Schuh is not only alive but thriving—and completely independent of insulin injections.
Having undergone two islet cell transplantations over ten years ago, Schuh no longer requires the use of insulin injections and enjoys stable, consistent blood sugar—a feat that would have been impossible upon initial diagnosis at 30. She is now capable of traveling alone, eating with a genuine zest for her food, and engaging in incredible activities such as hiking the Grand Canyon and swimming with dolphins.
The Future of the Cure
Although not everyone is a candidate for transplantation, nor is every transplant resulted in a positive outcome, the success of Chris Schuh’s procedure—and of other patients—is an exciting step forward in the treatment of diabetes and the eventual development of a cure for Type 1 diabetes.
Type 1’s status as an autoimmune disorder makes it particularly tricky to cure, as any other autoimmune disease bearer can attest. Because the body has essentially ceased its proper function and begun to attack itself, treatment is tricky; you run the risk of transplanting, only to have the transplanted cells come under attack, as well. As Schuh’s case demonstrates, however, there may be a way to keep the body from attacking incoming cells, effectively reversing Type 1 diabetes.
Although hope may seem far away, a cure for Type 1 grows closer every day. If you find yourself qualifying for a clinical trial or experimental cure, you may want to take the leap; after all, it has meant the world to Chris Schuh and her newfound lease on life.References
Diabetes Research. Accessed 5/29/17.