For more than 100 years, we have listened to and supported the people whose lives have been touched by diabetes. We believe healthcare should be as individual as you are... we believe in Your Type.
When Lucy was 12½ years old she was a competitive swimmer and often travelled for competitions. Life was simple, friends, family, swimming, until after one of her competitions, she started losing weight and dropped from 36kg to 28kg in a week. Lucy ended up in hospital for three days, where she was diagnosed with diabetes.
“When I was little, before I was ever diagnosed, I remember talking with friends and saying that I would die if I ever had diabetes, not being able to eat candy and sweet things. It turns out I will not die of diabetes. But I will for sure die with diabetes,” Lucy, who is now 50, recalls.
After her diagnosis, Lucy saw life as a ‘fight’, against hyperglycemia, when her blood sugar levels were too high, or against hypoglycemia, when they were too low. Like most people receiving such a diagnosis, Lucy felt lonely and fearful about what lay ahead, having to figure out how she would handle a lifetime of injections and monitor her body 24/7. What had once been easy pleasures, eating at a friend’s house or buying an ice-cream, suddenly meant having to remember her insulin injections and calculate her glucose levels.
“I realized that I needed to stop fighting against the uncontrollable and not give up,” said Lucy, who today works as a physiotherapist. “We know we have limitations, but we can overcome them.”
Around 425 million people worldwide received a diagnosis of diabetes, a number that is set to jump to 690 million by 2045.
Diabetes is a complex, chronic disease that occurs when your blood glucose, or blood sugar, is higher than normal. Glucose, which is derived from food, provides your main source of energy, but it needs to reach your cells and for that you need insulin, a hormone that is made by the pancreas. With diabetes, your body doesn’t make enough insulin or it doesn’t process insulin properly, which results in glucose staying in the blood and not reaching your cells. Over time, too much glucose in your blood can cause health problems and lead to serious complications such as kidney failure and heart disease, which is why glucose levels have to be constantly checked.
As research advances, treating and living with diabetes has moved away from the traditional model of sorting people into their type. Not only is science discovering that there are more than two types, the traditional paradigms of type 2 diabetes occurring only in adults and type 1 diabetes only in children are no longer accurate, as both diseases can occur in both age groups.
This greater understanding has refocused how we care for people with diabetes. Just as each person is an individual, so should their care be, an approach taken by the American Diabetes Association/European Association for the Study of Diabetes.
“That’s why so many different types of treatment exist. Insulin in your body might react differently to the same insulin in mine,” Dr. Felipe Lauand, who works in Sanofi’s Insulins & Diabetes Solutions Teams, explained.
Sanofi has worked in the field of diabetes for more than 100 years and through its range of treatments and programs has built a tailored and personalized approach to care. Central to this is ensuring patients are at the heart of discussions with their doctors and to do that they need access to the right tools.
To treat the full reality of living with this disease, Sanofi has developed a multi-pronged approach that provides people with the tools they needs to live their lives in spite of the disease. “We promote patient self-management through education and support, apps and programs, all of which are critical to preventing acute complications and reducing the risk of long-term complications,” Lauand said.
We push for new therapies and remain optimistic about developing innovative treatments. “I’m constantly driven by the challenge to come up with better treatments for people with diabetes. Even after many years in drug discovery research, my team and I still remain excited about the promise of breakthrough science leading to new therapeutic solutions. There is still so much room for innovation in this field,” Dr. Norbert Tennagels, who works in Sanofi’s Insulin Biology team, said.
We use the latest technology to develop apps and wearables to better connect people to their bodies and their doctors and partner with health authorities to make sure people have access to healthcare.
At the core of our approach, however, is education. Through our educational programs, we help people with diabetes and their doctors to control the disease. “Education in diabetes is the best and greatest resource for us,” Lucy said. “Knowledge about diabetes is not only for diabetics themselves, but also for family, friends, and especially, professionals working in healthcare. They have all shown me the way to having a good attitude around my diabetes and I’ll be grateful to them forever.”
Lucy has adapted her diabetes to her life and keeps the disease under control through diet, the right medication and proper physical activity. “Today, I teach people about diabetes. Next up, I am going to do my Master’s thesis on Physiotherapy in Diabetic Neuropathy. Hopefully, it will help others. This is my mission in life, my effort to put my heart next to others who have diabetes.”