This issue of Diabetes Health marks the 17th year that we have published our Annual Product Reference Guide, a service that no other diabetes publication offers.
Throughout those years we have seen an often astounding flow of new or highly improved products from researchers and manufacturers. Innovations appear, it seems almost routinely, in almost every category of medicine and instruments.
For example, the array of insulins now available, starting from simple animal insulin almost 100 years ago, now ranges from extremely long-duration 24-hour-plus basalts to bolus insulins that begin to take effect within only 15 minutes of injection. Add to these basal/bolus combinations that the diabetes community could not have imagined only a few decades ago.
Smart pens not only record dosages and injection histories and then send that data for storage and reference on users’ smartphones, they also use extremely fine hidden needles—needles that lessen both the pain of injection and the sometimes unsettling visual of watching a needle go in.
For type 2s, the range and sophistication of diabetes drugs available to them can,
in a very pleasant way, present them with an embarrassment of riches. Researchers have developed several ways of helping type 2s manage their disease in ever
finer increments. Some drugs enable the pancreas to produce more insulin while others make the liver produce less glucose.
A newer class of diabetes drugs, the gliflozins, have a novel effect: They make the kidneys shunt some of the glucose they filter into the urinary tract rather return all glucose back into the bloodstream.
Some diabetes aids are unexpected twists on old themes. For years, fast-acting glucose tabs have been a staple in the medicine cabinets, pockets, or purses of people with diabetes. These were eventually backed up by glucagon shot kits, where a patient in hypoglycemic distress could mix a refrigerated dose of glucagon with water, fill a syringe with the formulation, and then inject. While these were lifesaving tools, they were cumbersome to use, and in some cases a source of incredible stress since each step had to be so carefully taken. But no more. The newest glucagon technology comes in the form of a pre- filled pen whose contents do not have to be mixed with water or refrigerated. Users in need simply take the pen and inject themselves with no other steps necessary. Another new wrinkle is glucagon applied via a nasal spray. It does not have to be inhaled, just applied to a user’s blood-rich nasal membranes where it is immediately introduced into the bloodstream.
If there is a pattern here, it’s pretty simple: Innovation, imagination, and hard work have produced some amazing tools for helping people manage their diabetes. I’ve been a witness for most of my life of both the terrible effects of diabetes and the consolations provided by good people who have fought the good fight lessen those effects. For me, Sweet 17 is an age of wonders.
Wishing you the best in health!
— Nadia Al-Samarrie Founder, Publisher, and Editor-in-Chief