This post is the second in a six-part series taken from the article by Keith Wassung entitled “Diabetes and Chiropractic”.  This series focuses on diabetes as a disease,  treatments for diabetes, and the ways chiropractic care can help. Last week’s post provided an overview of the disease. This week’s post explains both the traditional and new treatments available for diabetics. 

Part 2: Traditional and New Treatments for Diabetes

Traditional Approach to Diabetes

Insulin meter, test strips, needles, and other supplies The objective of diabetes treatment is to normalize blood sugar levels. In type I this is achieved with insulin injections, diet and exercise.

The individual may receive insulin in a single dose, mixed dose, split-dose, or multiple-dose regimen. A diabetic with kidney failure may require dialysis or a kidney transplant.

Diagram of photocoagulation procedure


A person with retinal abnormalities may undergo a procedure called photocoagulation, in which a laser or xenon arc light is used to cause condensation of protein material in the eye. Blood vessel disease may require vascular surgery.

New Treatments for Diabetes

Sandimmune Therapy aims to prevent the destruction of islet beta- cells. This drug may prevent circulating islet-cell antibodies in the blood from attacking islet cells. However, the drug can also be harmful to the liver and kidneys.

Pancreas Transplants are an option but because of the high risk of immune rejection,people receiving a pancreas transplant must take drugs that suppress the immune system. Unfortunately, these drugs eventually can cause more problems, including infection and damage to the liver and kidneys. Patients also face a greater health risk of diabetic complications from long- term immune system suppression.

Gloved hand holding a petri dish

Stem Cells have the potential to develop into any tissue or organ in the body and yet cannot develop into a full human being. Moreover, these cells could be engineered in such a way that people who receive them might not need highly toxic immunosuppressive drugs, which prevent the body from rejecting “foreign” tissue currently an obstacle to successful islet transplantation.



“Recent observations have suggested that common infections during the first year of life have a protective effect. A study of 58 insulin-dependent children was matched with 172 non-diabetic children. Analysis of both groups showed that respiratory infections had the most marked protective effect later in life. Infections during the first year may protect by modifying the lymphomatic response to subsequent immunological challenge. A link with decreasing early exposure to common infectious disease could account for the rise in the incidence of diabetes over the past 30 years1

Archives of Diseases in Childhood

Female child with CPAP machine


“Epidemiologic studies have demonstrated that children who acquire natural infections develop immunity to subsequent infections, with the protective effect increasing with each natural infection.”

Pediatric Infectious Disease Journal




  1. Phillips D. “Early infection and subsequent insulin dependent diabetes.” Archives of Childhood Diseases, Nov, 1997 77; 384-385