Thursday, May 5, 2011

How Much do You Know About Type 1 Diabetes?

My son is part of a research study called the TEDDY study. Once a quarter we make a visit to our local hospital and we meet with the study staff and he gets is blood drawn to check for antibodies in his system.
When he was born and we were still in the hospital a TEDDY study representative came around and asked if they could take a sample of blood and test it for Type I Diabetes?
I agreed and a couple months later, I got a call from them saying that my son is at a higher genetic risk for developing the disease than the general population.
We agreed to be in their research study.
What is the TEDDY study?
The Environmental Determinants of Diabetes in the Young
They are looking for the causes of type 1 diabetes mellitus
What is Type 1 Diabetes Mellitus?
Type 1 diabetes is one of the most common and serious long-term diseases in children. It is a disease where the body's immune system attacks the cells that make insulin. Insulin helps sugar (glucose) get into your cells so it can be used as energy. Children with type 1 diabetes must take insulin several times a day to stay alive and healthy. Right now, there is no cure for type 1 diabetes.
What is the point of this study?
Research says that children who get diabetes have certain kind of genes.
Other children who have these genes are at higher risk for getting diabetes.
However, not all children who are higher risk get diabetes. 
The TEDDY study thinks that something happens that "triggers" or causes a child with higher risk genes to actually get diabetes.
It is the purpose of this study to try and find out what are the triggers
that cause children to get diabetes.  
And that's where my son and others like him come in.
Hopefully he'll never develop diabetes.
But if he does, we will have a fore-warning because the antibodies will start to show up in his quarterly blood sample before any symptoms show up.
And if not - the extra trips to the hospital, mailed-in poop samples, and recording of vaccinations, illnesses and foods will be worth it if they can find a way to help prevent children in the future from developing this devastating disease.
Would you know if your child was at a greater risk for Type 1?
Type 1 Fast Facts:
-It is an auto-immune disease
-1 out of 400 children in the US are affected
-Each year, more than 15,000 children are diagnosed with Type 1 in the US
-There is no cure and you can't out-grow it. It is a lifetime disease
-It is most commonly diagnosed from infancy to the late 30s with age 14 - 20 being the peak
Click here for a list of common symptoms of Type I
Click here for more information on the TEDDY Study.

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