The BETTER project

BEhaviors, Therapies, TEchnologies and hypoglycemic Risk in Type 1 diabetes – BETTER

The first step of the BETTER project is to develop a registry of individuals living with type 1 diabetes in Quebec (Canada) to better characterize the causes, experience and consequences of hypoglycemia. From this registry will come clinical trials aimed at optimizing technologies and therapies for the reduction of hypoglycemia.

Type 1 diabetes and risk of hypoglycemia

People living with type 1 diabetes need to inject insulin to control the level of sugar in their blood because their pancreas does not produce insulin. They must adjust the amount of insulin they inject based on the carbohydrate content of the meals; physical activity, alcohol consumption, stress, infections, etc. A consequence of this treatment is a risk of low blood sugar. This is called hypoglycemia.

On a daily basis, people with type 1 diabetes live with the fear of hypoglycemia and are constantly trying to keep their blood sugar levels in balance. Symptoms of hypoglycemia include tremors, palpitations, sweating, hunger, confusion, dizziness and blurred vision. When severe, hypoglycemia can cause loss of consciousness, accidents, injuries, coma and even death.

In mild to moderate hypoglycemia, the person can treat themselves by consuming carbohydrates (sugars). In the case of severe hypoglycemia, the person needs help from someone else to raise their blood sugar.

In most children and adults living with type 1 diabetes, hypoglycemia is common and is the main barrier to adequate diabetes management.

Study to better intervene

People who register in the BETTER registry complete one or more questionnaires about their experience with hypoglycemia. The information gathered will enable researchers to better understand the issues and test approaches to reduce the risk of hypoglycemia.

One of these approaches is a web-based education platform that will be tested by registered participants. New technologies and therapies (medication) will also be studied, always with the aim of reducing episodes of hypoglycemia.