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Type 1 diabetes is a disease that can potentially carry a lot of long term health baggage with it. One of the exacerbating issues is that it generally strikes young, usually children or teenagers, who then are faced with a lifetime of controlling their diabetes or facing mortality laced issues.

Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh is currently doing a follow up study on the effect of oral insulin on delaying or preventing the onset of juvenile diabetes.

A previous study indicated that oral insulin, which has no known side effects, could delay onset of type 1 diabetes by up to four years in people who were at genetically high risk of developing the disease. Because of the long term collateral health issues of type 1 diabetes, any delay in onset could very well be delays in dealing with the other health issues. Prevention of type 1 diabetes would be an obvious home run.

In type 1 diabetes, a person’s own immune cells destroy the beta cells of the pancreas. Beta cells sense blood glucose and produce insulin, which regulates glucose and turns it into energy. When this whole system breaks down your quits producing insulin. “The belief is that insulin introduced via the digestive tract may induce tolerance, quieting the immune system’s attack on itself,” said Dr. Becker, also a professor of Pediatrics at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine.

Bottom line. Type 1 diabetes is a roller coaster ride for those who have it and seems to be the same for life insurance underwriters. While I am still working with several companies on the issue of underwriting children with type 1 diabetes, we continue to see progress in underwriting for adults with well controlled type 1.