JDRF, Diabetes and SEP

March 31, 2013

SEP is a corporate sponsor of a charity that is very close to home. As a person with type 1 diabetes (T1D), the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF) is helping me.

Here are a few quick facts about T1D:

  1. It was originally known as Juvenile Diabetes because it was thought that it only affected children.
  2. It’s an autoimmune disease in which the person’s pancreas loses the ability to produce insulin.
  3. It’s not (only) about sugar. It’s all carbohydrates that we have to watch out for.
  4. Hyperglycemia is high blood glucose and makes you feel sluggish, blurs your vision and gives you an unquenchable thirst. You treat hyperglycemia with insulin.
  5. Hypoglycemia is low blood glucose and makes you feel on edge, shaky, confused. You treat hypoglycemia with carbs.
  6. Both hyperglycemia and hypoglycemia can result in seizures, coma and eventually death if they are severe and untreated.
  7. Modern treatments suggest at least 10 blood glucose tests (read: finger stabs) per day. Before and after any food, on waking, before bed and any time we exercise or drive or do anything that needs extra diligence. We need these results so that we can treat with the appropriate amount of insulin or carbs.
  8. It changes all the time. One week I’ll be rocking my numbers, staying in range.  The next week my blood glucose will be all over the place, seeming to spike high if I even think about that donut. It’s a moving target and you never get any time off.

Scott Hanselman (fellow engineer with T1D) has an excellent blog post on diabetes here if you’d like to read more.

The JDRF raises funds to cure, treat and prevent T1D. One of their big projects at the moment is called ‘The Artificial Pancreas’, which involves a combination of diabetes medical devices working together to try to mimic the blood glucose monitoring and insulin producing job of a healthy pancreas, with minimal input from the wearer. In lieu of a cure, a successful artificial pancreas would be huge in allowing T1D’s to live a healthier, less stressful life. I miss the days when I could just get up and eat a giant bowl of cereal without having to do finger-sticks and insulin shots and then cut my breakfast in half because I don’t want to spike my blood glucose too high and feel terrible for the next few hours…

SEP has good reasons for choosing to support the JDRF and I am so thankful that they did. I’m not the only T1D engineer hanging around the office and I know several others have close family members with the disease. SEP has extensive experience building diabetes treatment products and other medical devices and SEP understands the importance of helping our local JDRF chapter.

In 2012, we attended a Gala, Walked to Cure and held a Bake Sale to raise money for the JDRF. I’m looking forward to a successful fundraising 2013!

JDRF Walk 2012 b

(I took twice as many steps to complete the 5k as these other absurdly tall guys)