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Documentary shows there are more than 2 types of diabetes

PHOTO ABOVE: For the families featured in “Journey to a Miracle,” new research has brought dramatic improvements to their lives. | From “Journey to a Miracle”

A new documentary shows amazing breakthroughs being made in diabetes research. And anyone who is a diabetic should tune in.

The documentary, “Journey to a Miracle: Freedom from Insulin,” will air at 3 p.m. Sunday on WTTW-Channel 11.

For decades we’ve operated under the assumption that of the 25 million Americans who have been diabetes, they either are type 1 (which used to be called juvenile diabetes because it was so often diagnosed in very young children) or type 2, which generally appears as people get older.

Within both groups there are people who do not produce insulin, and they must be given insulin, usually by injection, although some do receive it via a pump. Type 1 diabetics almost always have to be given insulin, usually about four or five times a day. Imagine trying to give that injection to a baby or young child who does not understand why he or she is being hurt on a daily basis. There are complications the disease has, even when a person is doing what the doctor ordered.

But as this documentary reveals, more recent research shows there are genetic forms of diabetes. Some 500,000 Americans are thought to have these types, which are called monogenic diabetes. And for them, multiple injections of insulin are not merely a painful remedy; they also are not the proper treatment. In fact, it is a pill that already existed before this latest discovery was made that those with monogenic diabetes end up taking. No more injections!

What a change that makes in a person’s life! Also, as the documentary shows, now that these people are getting the proper treatment, they health is improving in dramatic ways.

But let me remind, so you don’t think this is just a bunch of doctors talking, “Journey to a Miracle” includes interviews with several of the children who were found to have monogenic diabetes and their parents. You hear these incredible stories, of how tough things were and then with this discovery, how their lives changed so very much for the better. It’ll tug at your heart.