If there’s one constant in the practice of medicine, it’s that our understanding of the physiology of the human body is ever-evolving. Discovering what we don’t know helps us learn more about how our bodies work and also helps us develop new care protocols that make a measurable difference in the quality of our patients’ lives.
New knowledge in diabetes
Diabetes is a good example of how valuable new knowledge can be when it comes to diagnosis and treatment. It was recently announced that a research team identified a previously unknown link between heart hormones, insulin resistance, and obesity, which could signal new treatment options of Type 2 diabetes. And, a recent research report shared how novel approaches to correct identification of monogenic forms of diabetes may help doctors more effectively treat these once-rare variations of this condition.
Discovering diabetes treatments is one benefit of such research findings, both in terms of refining traditional management techniques such as diet and insulin, and in charting new pathways with drug delivery systems and even implantable devices. One example of these new treatments is Afrezza, an inhalable form of insulin designed to complement a diabetic’s management protocol. Because it is rapid acting and easy to use, Afrezza can give users greater flexibility and more spontaneity in their daily life.
Treatments like these that help patients feel some sense of control over their conditions are critical in developing patients’ confidence to embrace new techniques. These help shift the patient mindset from a posture of reactionary treatment to a proactive management; in other words, being able to live a life centered on the qualities that give them their individuality, and diminish the psychological confines of a disease.
The challenge of staying ahead
The challenge for doctors lies in keeping a step ahead of their patients to understand which new treatments are a viable option for them—and why the ones that may not be effective aren’t. Given the “instant gratification” information age our patients exist in, this is no small feat. When it comes to diabetes, these sources are a helpful start:
- The American Diabetes Association maintains an online portal of professional resources from an abstracts database to find the latest clinical research to medical journals in which professionals from around the world share their views. They even have a calendar of continuing education opportunities.
- The U.S. Department of Health & Human Services offers a set of clinical practice tools, including updates on research programs they sponsor, in addition to a collection of patient-centric education modules and materials to help them manage their care.
Balancing patient care loads with the myriad administrative duties that are a necessity of maintaining a practice can leave any doctor feeling there is simply no time left to maintain a constant digestion of news and information in research and treatment developments. Much like people absorb a daily diet of news from around the world to inform their daily lives, medical professionals who maintain a steady consumption of news and developments in their chosen practice are in a better position to deliver the best care their patients need.