When you are diagnosed with diabetes, you will be under the care of a special diabetes care team. The team is made up of specialists and they can give you detailed information on how to live with diabetes. Their main priority is to teach you how to manage your blood glucose levels and thereby minimize the chance of complications later on.
Managing type 1 diabetes through treatments
Type 1 diabetes occurs because the body is unable to produce insulin. Therefore insulin treatments will be necessary for the rest of your life.
Insulin is the hormone that will help regulate the blood glucose levels “naturally”. It comes in different varieties (e.g. long-acting, rapid-acting, short-acting) and works in slightly different ways, so it is important to find the right treatment for you with your care team. Insulin is given as an injection either with a syringe or an injection pen. The dose and frequency differs from person to person.
Another option is an insulin pump. It is a small device which is attached to you with a tube and a needle, inserted under your skin. Insulin is then pumped into your blood in a steady flow, which you can control. The insulin pump is preferred by patients who do not like the many daily injections. If you experience frequent episodes of hypos, the insulin pump is a smarter option, since it constantly pumps insulin to your body.
People with type 1 diabetes have an increased chance of developing heart disease, stroke and kidney disease. Therefore you may also be prescribed medicine to help control high blood pressure and high cholesterol levels.
In order to know exactly how your blood glucose levels are looking, you need to take blood tests. Because of today's technology, it is an easy maneuver, which consists of a simple finger stick blood test. It might be necessary to do the tests around four times a day, depending on the type of insulin treatment you are receiving.
A healthy diet is a cornerstone in managing your diabetes. Your diet is what gives fuel to your body, but when you have diabetes, the fuel (glucose) is not distributed and cannot create energy.
It is recommended to see a registered dietician, who can help you make a food plan and teach you the do's and don'ts of a diabetic diet.
Exercising is an important supplement to managing your diabetes. Especially with type 1, you need to balance your level of activity with your insulin dose and what you eat- Even if it's vacuuming or mowing the lawn. It is a good idea to monitor your blood glucose response for different activities, so you have an idea of how much of an activity you can do without bringing your blood glucose levels out of their zone.