Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Not a cure...

Often people ask if insulin is like a cure for diabetes and when in reality it isn't a cure, it does come close, right? Let's think back before insulin was discovered in 1922, before then the life of a diabetic was limited and short. Could you imagine when everyone found out that insulin was available? Of course, we can read about it and the stories are really neat - but if that was you pre 1922, diagnosed with type 1 diabetes, then given a batch of insulin - would you think, "wow, I'm cured." 

Even though we laugh when the general public asks us if insulin means we are cured, in reality it is a close start to a cure - I'd like to believe.  If insulin had not been discovered, thousands upon thousands upon thousands of diabetics wouldn't be around doing the awesome things they are doing today. Just like we say Tylenol can cure a headache or Tums can cure a belly ache - insulin sort-of-cures diabetes.   Now, I realize many will disagree with me, because as we know sometimes we take insulin and our blood sugars are still out of whack or we take too much insulin and we know how that story goes - but this is true for most drugs. Yes, it is true that insulin will not make your diabetes go away; however, insulin allows diabetics to live a full life - complication free - if used correctly.

While many other diseases provide treatment that in no way stops the disease only helps with the symptoms, I see insulin as something different all together. Insulin is in everyone, including the diabetics that are taking insulin via injection or insulin pump.   Insulin can prevent high blood sugars and is in no way a 'drug' that prevents you from doing anything. A real cure for diabetes will be some way of making the body produce insulin itself, yes insulin... the very thing we are pumping or injecting - I think the fact that insulin was discovered not even 100 years ago and it has been saving lives every single day since - we can call that a close step to a cure.

I may not have convinced you that the discovery of insulin is a close cure, but I am sure we all can admit that insulin is a lifesaver, something that if it had not been discovered, me nor any other type 1 diabetic in this world would be alive today.  Even though we get mad at diabetes for all the late-nights, no sleep, frustration etc. it causes, we do need to think about what it would have been like pre-1922. We need to be thankful that Sir Fredrick Banting and colleagues did what they did.  Really think about not even 100 years ago no one had insulin.   Now we are grateful to have more than insulin, we have insulin pumps, fancy injection pens and meters that hook up to your computer.



  1. Totally fortunate for Insulin !! Way to say it Kayla !!!

  2. As far as I know, there is no movie made about the life of Banting. I'd love to see a good one made. I understand that he was an alcoholic but still a genius in the lab. As for Charles Best, apparently there were 2 potential assistants, and he merely flipped a coin to choose one. Best won the coin flip :)