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Living with diabetes: Research offers hope for those managing the chronic disease

When Daniel was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes, he thought about potential negative outcomes, including kidney failure, lower-limb amputation, blindness and heart disease

He decided to take action.

“All my life I’ve been the kind of person who would rush into a problem instead of running away from it,” he said

With guidance from his physician, he hired a nutritionist, began exercising more regularly and dropped his weight from 345 pounds to 281 pounds over an 18-month period.

“I felt like I was 26 again,” he said, noting how the combination of medication, once-a-week insulin injections and lifestyle changes have helped him get his diabetes under control.

“I want to be around to play with my grandkids, retire and go fishing,” he said.

And he’s doing everything he can to make sure that happens.

Watch Daniel’s story

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 37.3 million people in the United States have diabetes.

While there is currently no cure for diabetes, insulin and medications like Metformin help many people manage the chronic disease. And understanding the pathogenesis of diseases like diabetes, as well as fatty liver disease, obesity and atherosclerosis, can help researchers identify novel therapeutic targets and new approaches to treating these common disorders.

“If we can identify the mechanisms or new therapies, that can help us better treat patients in the future,” noted Yanqiao Zhang, M.D., professor of Integrative Medical Sciences and director of the Diabetes, Obesity and Metabolism research focus area at NEOMED.

There are currently 14 studies funded by the National Institutes of Health, including 10 R01 grants, in the research focus area. Researchers are studying the diseases at the genetic, biochemical, molecular and cellular levels to better understand underlying mechanisms of disease to help identify targets for treatment.

For people like Daniel who are living with diabetes, that basic and translational research offers hope.

“I’m hoping with research, we can eliminate it all together,” Daniel said.


Watch to learn about Dr. Zhang’s work and that of others in the Diabetes, Obesity and Metabolism research focus area