The key to Dealing with Diabetes is to take care of yourself, and Channel 8 wants to help you with that. More>>
Nearly 21-million people in the United States are living with diabetes. Many of those people have or will eventually develop serious complications. In this Dealing with Diabetes report, find out about a little-known treatment that is changing, and possibly even saving, the lives of people who already have some of those complications.
Noel and Jackson Wynn are like most mom and son teams. But one thing sets them apart. Noel has been struggling with type one diabetes since she was 12.
Noel said, "My body has never just wanted to follow along."
She has severe diabetic nerve damage and for nearly 10 years, she couldn't feel her lower legs.
"This body has to last, and I am going to do everything I can to prolong my life and prevent anything," said Noel. She found help in a treatment called metabolic activation therapy.
Endocrinologist, Dr. Victor Roberts, says once a week his patients sit for six hours hooked up to an IV that pumps in high doses of insulin. "I welcome anything to benefit the patient in the war against diabetes," he said. They're also fed carbohydrates.
"We want to make sure that they are reaching a certain pitch, if you will, of metabolism," said Dr. Roberts.
That's done by measuring the patients' respiratory quotient. The complex process is designed to help the body metabolize sugar better. "They feel better, and they function better," said Dr. Roberts.
Studies suggest the treatment can improve blood sugar and blood pressure, slow kidney disease progression and actually reverse nerve damage.
"After about a month, I just got up one day and was walking through the house and realized that I could feel my feet in my shoes," said Noel. There was a potential for some amputation there, and I think I stepped right out of that."
Noel has her energy back and says she finally feels like a normal, healthy mom.
Metabolic activation therapy is under investigation and approved by some insurance companies. Patients still need to take their usual doses of insulin.
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