Health Team

Technology helps those with Type 1 diabetes manage disease

Posted October 29, 2010 2:46 p.m. EDT
Updated October 29, 2010 5:39 p.m. EDT

— Although Type 2 diabetes can be prevented or helped with lifestyle changes, Type 1 diabetes, also known as juvenile diabetes, is a disease with no known cure.

For patients, the greatest hope is for researchers to find a cure or create technology to help them better manage their disease.

Fourteen-year-old Danielle Adams has had Type 1 diabetes since she was 4. Every day for the past decade, she has had to prick her finger to measure her blood-glucose level and give herself insulin injections.

For much of that time, however, the glucose reading has been programmed into an insulin pump, which, she says, makes her less self-conscious at school than the old syringes.

"I don't think many people do notice my pump. It kind of looks like a cell phone in my pocket," Danielle said.

She will soon join a clinical trial at the University of Virginia that will look at the use of an artificial pancreas device in children.

"It actually combines an insulin pump, which administers or gives you the insulin, and a continuous glucose monitor, which is reading your blood-sugar levels all the time," said her mother, Diane Adams.

A continuous glucose reading, rather than a few measurements taken before meals or during exercise, could help Danielle avoid dangerously low glucose levels, which can lead to a seizure.

"I've had eight seizures since I was diagnosed, or if it gets too high, you can go into a coma," Danielle said.

The Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation Walk is scheduled for 10:30 a.m. Saturday at the Time Warner Cable Music Pavilion in Raleigh to raise money for Type 1 diabetes research.

Danielle's team is one of the tops in the country in the event, raising close to $1 million over nine years.