An artificial pancreas will most probably be available within two years.
An artificial pancreas is a device that measures the blood glucose levels in a patient with type 1 diabetes and also pumps insulin into his or her body accordingly. It will be available by 2018.
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While insulin pumps can be found today and so can blood glucose monitors, they deliver their services in a separate manner from each other. The artificial pancreas will deliver both at one and the same time.
An artificial pancreas uses a closed loop of sorts. The device can let the patients off the hook in order to enjoy some leisure time such as vacation in a foreign land.
The constant hassle of monitoring and giving injections can be bypassed using this 2-in-1 gadget. The variation in insulin requirement is one thing which has to be taken into account whether it is within an individual or between individuals.
There come days when a person will need 1/3rd of the requirement he or she takes on a daily basis. Then there come days when the same person needs 3 times the requirement he or she takes on a regular basis.
The person’s condition, diet, exercise habits and several other factors count in this variability in required dosage. A person with type 1 diabetes has to be very careful lest he or she end up with too little blood sugar or too much blood sugar.
It is a fine tightrope that the patient has to walk in the quest to avoid the nasty symptoms of the disease. Damage to nerves, arteries and veins makes such complications as CV disease a likelihood in type 1 diabetes.
There are other ways to counter the problem besides an artificial pancreas. They include pancreas transplantation and the shifting of beta cells to the patient’s pancreas. These are the cells that manufacture insulin.
However, these alternative methods require major surgery and immunosupressant drugs. The artificial pancreas forgoes both major surgery and any immunosupression of any sort.
There is the problem of insulin release in artificial pancreas. The dose does not reach adequate levels in the bloodstream until 30 minutes to 2 hours after being released.
The effects go on for 3 to 5 hours. If the patient engages in vigorous exercise, such timing of the dosage may be inadequate and unsuitable. Work is in its ongoing phase regarding the artificial pancreas.
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Research paper on the availability of artificial pancreas got published in Diabetologia, the journal of the European Association for the Study of Diabetes.