With around 1.25 million people – including children and adults – in the U.S. diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes, an FDA-approved artificial pancreas would be of sure help to many patients suffering the disease.
Connection of Pancreas to Diabetes
Our pancreas is the organ in our body that is responsible for producing insulin – a hormone that regulates blood sugar levels by assisting the transportation of glucose from our bloodstream to the cells.
Glucose is the breakdown of sugar and starches that are used in our body for energy. If our pancreas does not produce enough insulin, glucose will build up in our bloodstream, which starves our cells for energy.
The lack of production of insulin causes Type 1 diabetes and the risk of high blood sugar levels. This is because the beta cells that produce insulin are attacked by the body’s immune system.
With that, a treatment for patients to have enough supply of insulin is needed for survival. To date, insulin therapy helps patients manage and continue on with their lives despite the disease.
It is done by injecting insulin under the skin and with an insulin pump that releases the hormones to the body. However, this method needs a few trial and error because unlike the human body, the pump and monitor do not communicate with each other.
FDA-Approved Artificial Pancreas by Medtronic
A life-changing breakthrough by Medtronic comes helpful for diabetics. The device, called MiniMed 670G, claims to be the “first” and “only” system that automatically keeps a person’s “sugar level in range” based on their daily activities.
Since it is “hybrid,” the device is not yet totally automatic as the user must key in a number of carbohydrates they had in every meal. But still, the medical device functions a “closed loop” system which is an almost-perfect artificial pancreas.
Additionally, it is the first of its kind to be approved by Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
With the FDA-approved artificial pancreas set to be released to the public this year, millions of lives of Type 1 diabetes patients will be improved.
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