The prevalence of diabetes, a condition related to the body’s inability to appropriately produce a hormone called insulin, has been steadily increasing worldwide over the last 30 years. According to the World Health Organization, over 422 million people worldwide are currently living with diabetes. An estimated 30.3 million of those people, or 9.4% of the population, are in the U.S. Also in the U.S., as many as one in four adults with diabetes don’t even know that they have it, and another 84 million people are pre-diabetic which often means they will be diabetic within five years without treatment. These numbers are higher in the American Indian, black, and Hispanic communities.
What is insulin and how do our bodies use it? What progress are scientists making toward regulating the hormone without insulin pumps or injections?