When JDRF asked us (the YLC) if we would speak at a women's health forum we jumped at the opportunity. The City of Whitehorse run two women's forums each year that cover a range of topics from health to arts and crafts. The second forum for 2014 was titled Diabetes and You.
So we set out to determine what we would say to a room full of women about type 1 diabetes.
The main aim of the day was to talk about type 2 diabetes, which is fair enough because type 2 is something you can prevent, and improve through a healthy diet and exercise. But type 1, well type 1 is an auto-immune disease that currently can't be prevented and once you have it you have it.
We decided that we would focus on four main areas:
- The science
- The symptoms
- The daily battle, and
- The search for a cure
1. The science
Type 1 diabetes is caused by the immune system mistakenly turning on itself, destroying beta cells within the pancreas and removing the body's ability to produce insulin.
Below is a great video by the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute that looks at Insulin Production and Type 1 Diabetes that we recommend watching if you are interested in a detailed description.
2. The symptoms
Too often we hear stories of misdiagnosis both because individuals do not know they have the symptoms of type 1, or because medical professionals do not consider a person to be at risk.
Type 1 diabetes can be diagnosed at any age, and the symptoms are as follows:
- Extreme Thirst
- Weight Loss
- Abdominal Pain
- Constant Hunger
- Frequent Urination
- Blurred Vision
If you or a family member has two or more of these symptoms you should ask your doctor to test for type 1 diabetes. The initial test is very simple - a fingerprick and 5 second test is all it takes to determine if you need further clinical testing.
Early identification of these symptoms could save your life or the life of a loved one.
3. The daily battle
We felt it was important to give real life examples of what we had just spoken about so we shared personal diagnosis stories and also gave an insight into the daily battle that is type 1.
We spoke about the support and information JDRF provides as well as the peer support program we run for adults with type 1 in Melbourne called Type One Tastings.
4. The search for a cure
Finding a cure for type 1 is the ultimate goal, so we felt it was important to share with the audience the fundraising work we do and the work that the funds go towards.
JDRFs research plan ensures that there will be an ongoing stream of life-changing therapies that lessen the impact of type 1 diabetes. They want to keep people with type 1 healthy and safe until they reach their ultimate goal of finding a cure and a way to prevent type 1.
Internationally JDRF has been involved in every major type 1 breakthrough over the last 40 years.
We thoroughly enjoyed presenting and talking to the guests at the Whitehorse Women's Forum, and are looking forward to finding more opportunities to raise awareness about the science, symptoms, daily battle and search for a cure for type 1 diabetes!
Click the image below to see some pics of the day.