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Harvard researchers discover hormone that may hold key to better diabetes treatment

Type 2 diabetes is a metabolic illness that affects roughly 26 million Americans. The condition is characterized by high blood glucose and insulin resistance. The classic symptoms of type 2 diabetes are excess thirst, frequent urination, and constant hunger. Diabetes is a manageable condition, but if the condition progresses, it can impact one's life seriously.

Recently, Harvard researchers have discovered a hormone that could translate into more effective treatment for type 2 diabetes. The hormone, known as betatrophin, causes mice to produce insulin-secreting pancreatic beta cells at up to 30 times the normal rate. Those new beta cells only produce insulin when the body asks for it. Researchers looking at the findings believe that the hormone holds the potential for natural regulation of insulin and a significant reduction in the complications associated with diabetes.

Complications of type 2 diabetes include heart and blood vessel disease, nerve damage, kidney damage, eye damage, foot damage, skin and mouth conditions, osteoporosis, Alzheimer's disease, and hearing problems. For those who progress far enough in the condition, amputation and loss of vision are possibilities.

For those who suffer from serious diabetes complications, the ability to work productively can be compromised. Social Security disability can help provide a steady stream of income for these individuals.

In looking at whether a person with diabetes qualifies for Social Security disability benefits, there are a number of steps Social Security will go through. These include determining: whether the applicant is "working"; whether the disability is severe enough to significantly limit the ability to perform activities needed in most jobs; whether the impairments result from endocrine disorders for other body systems; whether the applicant can perform work they have done in the past despite the diabetes; and whether any other work can be performed.

Those diagnosed with diabetes who aren't sure whether they qualify for Social Security disability should consult an experienced attorney to have their case evaluated.

Source: Harvard Gazette, "Potential diabetes breakthrough," April 26, 2013

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