Diabetes Mellitus Treatment Options

Diabetes Mellitus (DM) is a disease that affects millions of people. Both types of diabetes, Type I and Type II, cause elevated levels of blood sugar. However, the causes of both are different, and therefore the treatments are different. Despite multiple treatment options, DM can be difficult to treat. There is new research trying to find innovative options for patients suffering from uncontrolled diabetes.

What are the consequences of untreated diabetes?

Untreated DM can be devastating. The elevated blood sugar, called glucose, can put patients at higher risk for infections. These infections can affect the lungs, skin, teeth, and genitourinary system, to name a few. They also increase the risk for infection when undergoing any type of procedure, like dental procedure or other surgery.

DM can also cause cardiovascular issues. People with Type II Diabetes Mellitus (DMII) are more likely to have a heart attack or stroke. People with both types of DM are also at risk for kidney dysfunction, vision problems, and nerve damage. The nerve damage often affects the hands and feet and can feel like either numbness and tingling or painful pins and needles.

Because nerves and vessels are affected, people with DM can also have certain systems slow down. For example, people with DM may suffer from slowed gastric emptying. This means that they’re stomach and bowel are not squeezing at the rate they are supposed to in order to move and digest food. This causes a backup, ultimately causing distension, discomfort, constipation, and even nausea and vomiting. This is often an issue in hospitalized people. Additionally, people with longstanding DM may have issues urinating because their genitourinary nerves do not function like they are supposed to.

How is it normally treated?

Because the two types of DM have different causes, they are treated differently. Because their bodies do not make insulin anymore, DMI patients have to use insulin. This is particularly difficult because these patients have to anticipate how much and what they will eat and choose the correct amount of insulin to give themselves with the correct timing. If they give too little, they are not adequately treating their disease. If they give themselves too much insulin, they may cause irreparable harm and even death because the body needs blood sugar to survive.

DMII patients have more options for treatment. The first line of treatment is diet and exercise, the same method used to prevent DMII. This line of treatment is often unsuccessful for patients. They can then move on to oral medications. Some of these medications decrease the amount of blood glucose, and other medications decrease insulin resistance so that the cells with take the blood glucose in like they were designed to. If DMII is still uncontrolled using these methods, then physicians may move on to using insulin.

What are new therapies?

As stated above, there are many ways to treat DMII. DMI, however, has fewer options. Therefore, much of the scientific research has been focused on treating DMI. Stem cell research in particular has been popular. Stem cells are special cells found in different parts of the body that can become multiple types of cells.

Because DMI is caused by autoimmune destruction of beta cells in the pancreas, stem cell research often focuses on replacing those beta cells. Much of the research shows promise in Mesenchymal Stem Cells (MSC). Scientists believe that MSCs are the best option because they have multiple benefits and relatively few risks. MSCs are able to turn into the beta cells that can produce insulin. They also have anti-inflammatory properties that may alleviate some of the autoimmune destruction that drives this disease. For patients with DMII, scientists have found that MSCs improve the insulin resistance that causes the disease. In people with longstanding DM, they may even reverse some of the tissue destruction that prolonged disease causes. They do not have some of the disadvantages of other stem cell therapies. More research needs to be done to refine this treatment option.


Diabetes Mellitus encompasses two different types of elevated blood sugar. While both types are caused by two different mechanisms, they have similar symptoms and consequences. Treatment for Diabetes Mellitus can be challenging for certain patients. Scientists have been conducting research into stem cell therapy for Diabetes Mellitus with promising results. Contact the Stem Cell Transplant Institute to learn more about how we can help you with your health goals today.