|SPRINGFIELD - The Western Massachusetts chapter of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF), the leader in setting the agenda for type 1 diabetes research worldwide and the world's largest charitable funder and advocate of type 1 diabetes research, is encouraging the public to learn about type 1 diabetes and the importance of clinical trial participation in the search for a cure for the disease throughout the month of November as part of National Diabetes Awareness Month. JDRF will focus on a wide range of activities and events to increase awareness of type 1 diabetes, including participating in World Diabetes Day on Nov. 14, providing warning signs for the disease, and continuing to accelerate research leading to a cure for the disease and its complications.|
An increasing number of clinical trials and the overall progress in diabetes research make it harder for people with diabetes to keep up-to-date on what trials are available, and to make decisions on whether or not to participate in a study. According to JDRF, which funds more than 40 human clinical trials today, diabetes researchers are finding it difficult to recruit enough patients to take part in trials quickly and cost-effectively.
As part of Diabetes Awareness Month, JDRF is encouraging people with type 1 diabetes and their families to consider participating in clinical trials for drugs, treatments and therapies for diabetes and its complications. An online service recently launched by JDRF, Clinical Trials Connection, is available for use at trials.jdrf.org, and will enable people to search the database of trials of the National Institutes of Health (including JDRF-funded trials) that involve diabetes cures and treatments to get information, make comparisons and provide direct contact information for the trial centers.
The organization is also joining with the United Nations and the global diabetes community to observe World Diabetes Day on Nov. 14.
The Western Massachusetts chapter is encouraging the community to also learn more about type 1 diabetes and its complications. JDRF will mark National Diabetes Awareness Month and World Diabetes Day when the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, along with other buildings and monuments nationwide, goes blue on Nov. 14.
World Diabetes Day, developed by the UN in conjunction with JDRF and other diabetes organizations, marks a call to action to raise awareness around the world about diabetes, to urge governments to implement national policies for the care and treatment of diabetes, and to encourage individuals to get involved.
According to a JDRF poll, as many as three million Americans have been diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. Type 1 diabetes strikes both children and adults, and is often diagnosed before the age of 30. To stay alive, people with type 1 diabetes must take multiple insulin injections daily or continually infuse insulin through a pump and test their blood sugar. While trying to balance insulin doses with their food intake and daily activities, people with this form of diabetes must try to avoid high blood sugars, which lead to a range of devastating complications, including heart disease, blindness and kidney disease, while also avoiding low blood sugars, which can be life-threatening. Although life-sustaining, insulin is not a cure nor does it prevent the debilitating complications associated with the disease which can include kidney failure, blindness, nerve damage, amputations, heart attack and stroke.
Diabetes is the fifth leading cause of death in the U.S., and represents more than $174 billion per year in health care costs. The disease is a leading cause of adult blindness and end-stage kidney failure, and is the reason for most amputations, after accidents. In contrast to type 2 diabetes, in which the pancreas continues to produce insulin, type 1 diabetes is neither preventable nor correctable.
JDRF is urging people to educate themselves about the symptoms of diabetes, which is critical because the disease can be mistaken for more common illnesses, such as the flu. But untreated, even over a very short time frame, type 1 diabetes is life-threatening. The symptoms of type 1 diabetes, which often occur suddenly, are:
• Extreme thirst
• Frequent urination
• Sudden vision changes
• Fruity, sweet or wine-like odor of breath
• Increased appetite
• Sudden weight loss
• Drowsiness, lethargy
• Heavy, labored breathing
• Stupor, unconsciousness
If you, your child or adolescent exhibit one or more of these symptoms, you should call a doctor immediately.
More information on type 1 diabetes and diabetes research is available at www.jdrf.org.
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