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Discussing Diabetes with DRC's T1Ds

Discussing Diabetes with DRC’s T1Ds: Blog Post 4

As a type 1 diabetic who considers the beach their second home, I can say that Beyond Type 1’s “T1D Beach Guide” is spot-on. While splashing in the waves or sunning oneself on the sand, there are a few essential things that type 1 diabetics should keep in mind. 

Beyond Type 1 first mentions the importance of hydration for both diabetics and non-diabetics. I always bring a big reusable water bottle, preferably one that keeps the water inside cool. The beach heat can be severely dehydrating, so adding some electrolytes to water will provide the right fuel for a fun beach day. Beyond Type 1 recommends Ultima Replenisher, which has zero carbs and a ton of flavors. I love Crystal Light Pure, which has zero carbs per serving, no artificial colors, sweeteners, or preservatives. My favorite flavor is tangerine mango! Staying adequately hydrated also helps balance blood glucose levels

As Beyond Type 1 notes, making sure your diabetes supplies are out of the direct sun is extremely important. It’s easy to accidentally leave an insulin pen or a container of test strips just sitting out on a towel–but this could, unfortunately, render them completely unusable. To be safe, I usually bring a small portable cooling bag for my supplies.

  The heat not only affects supplies; it also affects how one feels. Heat and constant sunshine can make one feel light-headed and drained, making it much harder to detect changes in one’s blood glucose levels. Beyond Type 1 also mentions that dehydration from sweat can spike blood glucose levels while playing in the waves, and running around in the sand can cause levels to plummet. One beach day, I thought I had low blood sugar because I was so tired. However, when I checked my continuous glucose monitor, my number was in the high 200s. This experience was unsettling, but it reminded me that it’s important to keep a constant watch on my CGM while at the beach.

  Beyond Type 1 recommends bringing easily packable snacks to the beach, including a cooler if you’re packing fresh food. I usually pack low-carb snacks such as veggies and hummus or parmesan crisps. When low blood sugar strikes, it’s also vital for type 1 diabetics to have fast-acting sugar in their beach bag. My favorite treat is fruit snacks because they are delicious and easy to consume quickly.

Last but not least, Beyond Type 1 recommends using a quality adhesive to ensure your CGM or pump stays on amidst all the beach day fun. Saltwater and sand are tough on adhesive, causing it to erode. I once lost my CGM in the ocean after I got tumbled by a wave. Since then, I have always wiped my CGM site with an extra Skin Tac wipe before heading off to the beach. 

With the proper preparation, type 1 diabetics can “navigate the waves” of their disease at the beach. Thankfully, with new technology rising out of innovative diabetic research, beach days can include less fret and a lot more fun for type 1 diabetics. 

This blog was written by Lauren Grove, DRC Intern, who has had T1D for 15 years and is responding to the article, “The T1D Beach Guide.

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Lower A1C Levels for Kids

New Guidelines Lower Target HbA1C Levels for Children with Type 1 Diabetes

One of the goals in managing type 1 diabetes is reducing fluctuations in blood glucose levels. Maintaining a stable blood sugar is ideal, which means consistently monitoring glucose levels and administering appropriate insulin doses.

The target range for HbA1C levels in children has typically been 7.5% or below. This was meant to keep blood sugar low enough to reduce the risk of organ and tissue damage but high enough to help curb hypoglycemia concerns. However, a recent report reveals that maintaining an HbA1C level of 7.0% or below may be better for short- and long-term health outcomes for children with type 1 diabetes (T1D).

Studies have shown that abnormal brain development, heart problems, diabetes-related complications, and mortality in children and adolescents may be at increased risk when blood sugar levels remain elevated. Tighter control and a lower target range may be beneficial in reducing both acute and long-term effects.

Although lower HbA1C levels were previously thought to increase the risk of hypoglycemia, several studies have shown the number of incidences has declined over the past three decades, and “the link between lower glucose targets and hypoglycemia risk has weakened over the past 15 years.”

The use of continuous glucose monitors and insulin pumps as part of T1D management and insulin analogs have played an integral role in allowing patients and caregivers to maintain tighter control over A1C levels and minimize fluctuations in blood sugar levels. 

While an HbA1C level of 7.0% or below is now recommended for many children with T1D, those patients who are unaware of hypoglycemia symptoms cannot adequately articulate them, a target of 7.5% is still recommended. There are also exceptions for those patients with a history of severe hypoglycemia and those with other pre-existing conditions or comorbidities. Patients with T1D need to work with their healthcare team to determine an appropriate A1C level for their individual situation.

The Diabetes Research Connection (DRC) continues to follow updated guidelines and recommendations for managing type 1 diabetes. The organization plays an active role in contributing to the growing body of knowledge around the disease by providing critical funding to early-career scientists pursuing research projects focused on improving diagnosis, prevention, treatment, and management of T1D. Learn more about current projects and how to help by visiting https://diabetesresearchconnection.org

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CDF and DRC Meet and Greet

DRCs 1st Virtual Gathering of 2021!

On Tuesday, February 23, DRC held it’s first virtual gathering of the year. DRC partnered with the Chris Dudley Foundation for a Meet and Greet, where Chris Dudley shared his personal experience with type one diabetes, his NBA career, and his wonderful foundation and camp! DRC gave a brief overview of it’s mission, spoke about successfully funded and currently funded projects, and gave several resources to the community. You can view the video below.

Chris Dudley Foundation and Diabetes Research Meet and Greet

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Discussing Diabetes with DRC's T1Ds

Discussing Diabetes with DRC’s T1Ds: Blog Post 3

When I responded to the article, “10 Ways the Pandemic Parallels “Normal” Chronic Illness Life,” it mentioned “bleak burnout,” which I stated that I resonated with. This week, I decided to delve deeper into that topic after reading the article “Diabetes Burnout” written by Mark Heyman, Ph.D.,  CDE,  for the Beyond Type 1 organization. 

Mark describes “Diabetes Burnout” as being “a state in which someone with diabetes grows tired of managing their condition, and then simply ignores it for a period of time, or worse, forever.“ It wasn’t a question about “if” I was going to experience it, but “when.” I had little bouts of it since being diagnosed with T1D at the age of 7, but nothing was as bad as when I hit senior year in high school, and I wasn’t just done with diabetes – I was done with my body and the lack of control I had with it. Mark mentions that a trigger for diabetes burnout can be “feeling controlled by diabetes,” and I absolutely did feel that. I didn’t want to think about changing my pump site. I didn’t want to worry about testing my blood sugar before every meal, in the middle of the night, or when I was feeling “off.” I didn’t want another lecture from my parents about a lousy A1C and the damage I was doing to my body. I didn’t want to be a diabetic. 

I decided to ween myself off insulin at the beginning of senior year. After a month, I had lost up to 10 pounds. By Christmas, I was down 40 pounds and happier than I had been in a long time. I had no idea where my test kit was, and I didn’t care. Don’t get me wrong – I was in excruciating pain. I threw up and peed all the time. I lost feeling in my limbs for days and sometimes wasn’t sure I would get the feeling back. I had constant heartburn, headaches, and severe nausea. You are probably wondering how my parents reacted? There was nothing they could do. One time, my mom was out of town, and I skipped school because I was so high blood sugar, I needed to sleep it off. I slept for 12 hours and had 30 missed calls from my parents. I woke up to my dad giving me an insulin shot. He drove two hours because he was afraid I had died (I am sorry to all the parents out there that have experienced this fear. It took me a long time after dealing with this burnout to understand the pain I put my parents through; I still feel guilt today). By March, I had lost 60 pounds and was forced by my school’s counselor to go on a month-long leave of absence to take care of my health. It was at this time that I realized – diabetes still had control over me. No matter how much I wanted to feel “normal,” I wasn’t. I had type one diabetes, and I was letting it kick my butt.

At the end of Mark’s article, he gives several helpful tips on overcoming this burnout; “Managing Your Expectations,” “Take Small Steps,” and my favorite, “Get Support.” After finally deciding to take care of myself, I sought comfort in the diabetic community I was closest to. I went to the camp I had been to for many years, Camp Conrad Chinnock, and worked all summer as a staff member. I was continually being reminded why my health was so important and having an open-ear to speak to when things became too much. No one shamed me for what I had done, but they reminded me of why my health is so important. If you or a loved one are experiencing diabetic burnout, talk to someone. I would probably have continued to disregard my health had I not surrounded myself with others in my position and been as open and honest about my feelings and doubts. I still deal with burnout, but I don’t let myself spiral. Finding DRC was kismet for me. I have never taken better care of my health, and I am so thankful to be a part of an organization that is continuously striving to fund research projects for a cure. Until we have a cure, make sure to check out all of Beyond Type 1’s resources, as they offer a plethora of tips, tricks, and suggestions that are extremely useful for anything a T1D might need. 

This blog was written by Hannah Gebauer, DRC’s Development Assistant, who has had T1D for 17 years and is responding to the article, “Diabetes Burnout.”

Hannah Gebauer

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Discussing Diabetes with DRC's T1Ds

Coronavirus and Diabetes Resources: Community Partner with Beyond Type 1

It is no secret that this pandemic has made life extremely more challenging. And for those with type one diabetes (T1D), infinitely more so. Fortunately, Beyond Type 1, a nonprofit organization that unites the global T1D community and provides solutions to improve those lives, has created a remarkable resource to help those with T1D during this difficult time. Click HERE to view helpful articles such as “Diabetes + Covid Vaccines: What You Need to Know,” “Covid + Diabetes: The Work and School Safety Guide,” and “Suddenly Jobless or Without Health Insurance? Start Here.” Diabetes Research Connection is honored to help spread the word for such a fantastic resource as a community partner.

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Discussing Diabetes with DRC's T1Ds

Discussing Diabetes with DRC’s T1Ds: Blog Post 2

Finger-pricking, insulin dosing, tracking food consumption, monitoring glucose levels: type 1 diabetes is a mentally and physically taxing full-time job. As a type 1 diabetic myself, I know how quickly diabetes can become overwhelming when it’s combined with school, work, and social obligations. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s “10 Tips for Coping with Diabetes Distress” is an excellent resource for people with diabetes who are struggling with managing the burden of their disease. 

Tip number 5, “Talk with Family or Friends,” and number 6, “ Talk to Other People with Diabetes,” highlight the importance of diabetics communicating their distress to those they trust. Not only does talking with friends help me process how I am feeling, but it also allows me to educate non-diabetics about the realities of my disease. Diabetes can be isolating, and it is easy for me to feel alone in my struggles. I am grateful to have an older sister with type 1 diabetes to talk to about diabetic burnout, unmanageable glucose levels, and other diabetic issues. I am also a member of my university’s College Diabetes’ Network, where I have met fellow type 1 diabetic students.  

I am a generally busy person, and keeping track of everything I need to do diabetes-wise can be extremely difficult. Tip number 8, “Do One Thing at a Time,” emphasizes how tackling each task independently can help with feelings of stress. I have a planner where I write myself reminders such as “Change Dexcom” or, when I know I have a big meal planned, “Increase Bolus.” I try to organize my day in a way that allows me to solely focus on my disease some moments but also place it on the “back burner” for a few minutes when I need to concentrate on other tasks. However, something I still need to work on is tip number 9: “Pace Yourself.”  My goal has always been to have stable blood glucose levels, but some days my levels are completely uncontrollable.  I have to remind myself that I can’t become a “perfect type 1 diabetic” overnight. I need to discover how my body responds to certain foods, different forms of exercise, and many other factors. Type 1 diabetes is a learning process: I take two steps forward and one step backward. Regardless, I know I am growing and progressing, becoming stronger and more confident managing my disease each day.

Most of the time, I wish I could “clock out” of my chronic illness, leave my type 1 diabetes on my bedside table and forget about it. Each moment of living with this disease brings a new challenge. I am so grateful for organizations like Diabetes Research Connection that support the development of life-changing diabetic technology. Reminding myself that ambitious researchers are currently studying my illness is ultimately the most helpful way to manage my diabetes distress. I am optimistic about a brighter future for all people with diabetes, where our disease’s burden is minimal or non-existent.

This blog was written by Lauren Grove, DRC Intern, who has had T1D for 15 years and is responding to the article,“10 Tips for Coping with Diabetes Distress.”

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COVID-19 Vaccine for T1Ds

Pushing for Improved Prioritization for COVID-19 Vaccine for Individuals with Type 1 Diabetes

As the United States has begun rolling out COVID-19 vaccines across the country, it has also created guidelines regarding eligibility and prioritization for the drug. There are multiple phases with different requirements to determine who gets the vaccine when. Currently, phase one is for the most at-risk groups, including frontline healthcare workers, seniors, those in long-term care facilities, and individuals at increased risk for severe illness.

While people with type 2 diabetes fall under phase 1 of the vaccine rollout, people with type 1 diabetes are included in phase 2. This has caused quite a bit of confusion and concern among those most familiar with the disease. The CDC points to “limited evidence” of increased risk for severe illness in individuals with T1D as the reason for the different phase designations. There is a growing push to get both type 1 and type 2 diabetes included in the phase 1 rollout.

There have been several recent studies that demonstrate the risk of contracting COVID-19 for individuals with T1D, including:

  • A study published in Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology in August 2020 shows that those with type 2 diabetes were more than two times as likely to die, while those with type 1 diabetes were more than 3.5 times as likely to die when compared to similar individuals without diabetes.
  • A study published in Diabetes Care in December 2020 that notes “people with either type 1 or type 2 diabetes who develop COVID-19 are three to four times as likely to experience severe illness and hospitalization as people without diabetes.”
  • A study published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism found a higher risk of developing diabetic ketoacidosis in Black and Hispanic individuals with COVID-19.


The evidence is there, but it is up to the CDC as to whether all diabetes patients are grouped together in one priority group or remain separate. However, state and local agencies can set their own eligibility guidelines when running vaccination programs, so they have the ability to prioritize all patients with diabetes if they so choose. Doctors also want the ability to prioritize certain patients based on their health history and risk factors. Only time will tell as the country continues to try to ramp up vaccine distribution.

The Diabetes Research Connection is waiting to see what happens next while supporting improved prevention and treatment options and the push for a cure for type 1 diabetes. Receiving a COVID-19 vaccine is just one step toward potentially improving quality of life and reducing risk for this population. Learn more about the DRC and the research projects currently being funded by visiting https://diabetesresearchconnection.org

Please DONATE NOW so DRC can keep bringing you credible, peer-reviewed T1D news and research.

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Generic Glucagon and Hypoglycemia

First Generic Glucagon Approved by FDA to Treat Severe Hypoglycemia

A significant concern for individuals with type 1 diabetes (T1D) is preventing severe hypoglycemia, also known as very low blood sugar. When blood glucose levels drop too low, it can cause confusion or lead to unconsciousness. Individuals often need someone else to administer a life-saving drug such as glucagon to raise their blood sugar back up to safer levels quickly.

Until now, only brand-name glucagon has been available for the treatment of hypoglycemia. Since it is a complex drug, it can be challenging to create safe, effective generic versions. However, generic products can be more affordable for many patients and increase competition in the market and increase drug prices.

The FDA is committed to improving access to lower-cost, high-quality generic drug products such as generic glucagon, and recently approved its production application. The drug is an injectable synthetic version of a natural hormone produced by the body to increase glucose levels. It has undergone the same testing as brand-name products to ensure that it meets the same rigorous approval standards and has comparable safety and efficacy.

The FDA has taken numerous steps to encourage pharmaceutical companies to create quality generic drug products, especially for drugs with fewer than three approved generics, including glucagon. Approval for the production of generic glucagon was given to Amphastar Pharmaceuticals, Inc. in Rancho Cucamonga, California.

The Diabetes Research Connection (DRC) is excited to see that more affordable drug products to help manage and treat type 1 diabetes are coming to market. This can help improve access to these life-saving drugs for those in need. There is not yet a cure for T1D, so reducing costs for essential medications by offering generic versions can make a difference.

The DRC is committed to funding research geared toward prevention, a cure, and improved care for individuals living with type 1 diabetes. Early-career scientists can receive funds to support novel, peer-reviewed research studies focused on any number of aspects of the disease. Learn more about some of the incredible projects taking place and find out how to help by visiting https://diabetesresearchconnection.org.

Please DONATE NOW so DRC can keep bringing you credible, peer-reviewed T1D news and research.

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Disordered Eating and T1D

Disordered Eating May Increase High Blood Sugar Risks in Type 1 Diabetes

Type 1 diabetes (T1D) can be a difficult condition to manage. Individuals must continuously be aware of their food and beverage intake, physical activity, overall health, and how this impacts their blood sugar. They must regularly check their blood glucose levels and administer appropriate doses of insulin as necessary.

Managing T1D combined with disordered eating can present even more challenges. Inconsistencies in food intake and negative feelings about eating and using insulin can make it harder to stay within a target blood sugar range. A recent study involving 23 women found that the time spent in level 2 hyperglycemia – blood sugar greater than 250 mg/dL – may be four times longer in individuals with T1D who also have disordered eating compared to those with only T1D.

Participants were divided into two groups: 13 women with T1D and disordered eating, and 10 women with T1D only. All participants were asked to keep a diabetes diary using a smartphone app to record information about their meals, insulin usage, and any emotions or behaviors related to the meal, such as binge eating or skipping insulin. Each woman tested her own blood sugar before meals and at bedtime, but they also wore a blinded continuous glucose monitor (CGM).

In addition, all participants completed a variety of surveys and screenings and engaged in a semi-structured interview with a clinical psychologist with expertise in disordered eating. Results were recorded for the Diabetes Eating Problem Survey-Revised, the Diabetes Distress Screening Scale, the Patient Health Questionnaire-9, and the Yale Food Addiction Scale.

Women in the disordered eating cohort showed higher use of recreational drugs, higher mean HbA1c levels, and higher scores on the diabetes distress, depression, and diabetes eating problem surveys than the control group. Furthermore, the disordered eating group reported more negative emotions and tested their blood sugar levels less frequently.

When looking at hyperglycemia, “the disordered eating group had a mean serum glucose of greater than 10 mmol/L (180 mg/dL) for 49.8% of the study period, whereas the control cohort spent 25.6% of time above range.” When narrowing it down to level 2 hyperglycemia specifically, “the disorder eating group was above range 21.3% of the time vs. 5% for the control group.”

Given that individuals must make significant changes to their lives when diagnosed with type 1 diabetes, it may be beneficial to provide additional support around diabetes self-care and mental health to reduce risk of developing disordered eating as well. Early introduction of healthy strategies and habits for managing diabetes, along with psychological support, may help improve glucose control.

Providing individuals with the knowledge, training, and support necessary for effectively managing type 1 diabetes is essential. The Diabetes Research Connection (DRC) is committed to enhancing research capabilities by providing critical funding for early-career scientists focused on diagnosis, prevention, and management of T1D, as well as finding a cure. Learn more by visiting https://diabetesresearchconnection.org

Please DONATE NOW so DRC can keep bringing you credible, peer-reviewed T1D news and research.

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Eating Fish and T1D

Could Eating Fish Help Prevent Type 1 Diabetes?

Although type 1 diabetes often develops in childhood, that is not always the case. In some instances, the disease may not fully develop until adulthood. The body may produce autoantibodies, known as GAD65 antibodies, long before type 1 diabetes symptoms appear. Detecting these autoantibodies can allow individuals to keep a closer eye on their health and be proactive when it comes to diabetes risk.

recent study found that omega-3 fatty acids may reduce type 1 diabetes risk or delay the disease’s onset. Fatty fish such as salmon, mackerel, and herring are all a good source of omega-3. When researchers compared omega-3 levels in individuals both with and without GAD65 antibodies, they found that “participants with GAD65 antibodies and a low intake of fish in their diet were 2.52 times as likely to have diabetes as those without GAD65 antibodies and a high intake of fish.”

When looking only at participants with GAD65 antibodies – a telltale sign of diabetes risk, those who ate less fish were more than four times as likely to have diabetes than those with a high fish intake and therefore higher levels of omega-3 fatty acids. The study included 11,247 individuals who developed diabetes in adulthood, and 14,288 adults without diabetes, all located in Europe.

One thing that is unclear, however, is precisely why fish consumption exerts this protective effect. Researchers continue to study the impact of omega-3 fatty acids on immune system function and potential type 1 diabetes triggers. Current guidelines from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recommend at least 8 ounces of fish per week for adults and less for children. These amounts may be different for individuals with GAD65 antibodies depending on their healthcare provider’s recommendations and future studies related to diabetes and omega-3 levels.

The Diabetes Research Connection (DRC) is excited to see what future research uncovers in terms of the impact of fish consumption on potentially preventing or delaying the onset of type 1 diabetes. Though not involved in this study, the DRC supports novel, peer-reviewed studies conducted by early-career scientists by providing essential funding. Learn about current projects and how to support these efforts by visiting https://diabetesresearchconnection.org

Please DONATE NOW so DRC can keep bringing you credible, peer-reviewed T1D news and research.

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See our approved research projects and campaigns.

Role of the integrated stress response in type 1 diabetes pathogenesis
In individuals with type 1 diabetes (T1D), the insulin-producing beta cells are spontaneously destroyed by their own immune system. The trigger that provokes the immune system to destroy the beta cells is unknown. However, accumulating evidence suggest that signals are perhaps first sent out by the stressed beta cells that eventually attracts the immune cells. Stressed cells adapt different stress mitigation systems as an adaptive response. However, when these adaptive responses go awry, it results in cell death. One of the stress response mechanisms, namely the integrated stress response (ISR) is activated under a variety of stressful stimuli to promote cell survival. However, when ISR is chronically activated, it can be damaging to the cells and can lead to cell death. The role of the ISR in the context of T1D is unknown. Therefore, in this DRC funded study, we propose to study the ISR in the beta cells to determine its role in propagating T1D.
Wearable Skin Fluorescence Imaging Patch for the Detection of Blood Glucose Level on an Engineered Skin Platform
A Potential Second Cure for T1D by Re-Educating the Patient’s Immune System
L Ferreira
Validating the Hypothesis to Cure T1D by Eliminating the Rejection of Cells From Another Person by Farming Beta Cells From a Patient’s Own Stem Cells
Han Zhu
Taming a Particularly Lethal Category of Cells May Reduce/Eliminate the Onset of T1D
JRDwyer 2022 Lab 1
Can the Inhibition of One Specific Body Gene Prevent Type 1 Diabetes?
Is Cholesterol Exacerbating T1D by Reducing the Functionality and Regeneration Ability of Residual Beta Cells?
Regeneration Ability of Residual Beta Cells
A Call to Question… Is T1D Caused by Dysfunctionality of Two Pancreatic Cells (β and α)?
Xin Tong
Novel therapy initiative with potential path to preventing T1D by targeting TWO components of T1D development (autoimmune response and beta-cell survival)
flavia pecanha