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How Can You Manage Type 1 Diabetes?

How Can You Manage Type 1 Diabetes?

Type 1 diabetes is a form of diabetes wherein the body does not produce insulin, or insufficient amounts of it, which results in high blood sugar levels. If left untreated, diabetes can cause type 1 diabetes symptoms and even serious illness or death. This is why it is important for diabetics to be aware of type 1 diabetes treatment guidelines.

Type 1 Diabetes: All You Need To Know

Type 1 diabetes treatment guidelines

One important consideration when it comes to type 1 diabetes treatment guidelines is that type 1 diabetes is a chronic disease. This means that if it is not consistently managed well, the symptoms can quickly get worse. In some cases, it can lead to a diabetic coma, and even death.

This is why it is important for diabetics as well as their close family and friends to know how this condition can be managed. By following type 1 diabetes treatment guidelines, diabetics can lead happy and fulfilling lives.

Insulin therapy

Insulin therapy is probably the most important among the various type 1 diabetes treatment guidelines. In fact, before the invention of artificial insulin, diabetics almost had no chance of recovering from a diabetic coma.

This just highlights the importance of insulin therapy for type 1 diabetics.

The hormone insulin plays an important role in our bodies, since it helps our cells process sugar in the blood. If there is too little insulin, then the blood sugar levels can go up drastically, and this can damage the cells in the body.

On the other hand, too much insulin can cause blood sugar levels to drop drastically, which is just as dangerous. This is why diabetics need to take a prescribed amount of insulin based on their current blood sugar level in order to stay healthy and manage type 1 diabetes symptoms.

What are the types of insulin therapy?

The insulin used by diabetics come in different types. Here are some of the most commonly used types of insulin:

  • Rapid-acting insulin, or insulin that works 15 minutes after injecting it. This type of insulin usually peaks after about an hour, and can last for 2 to 4 hours.
  • Regular or short-acting insulin works about 30 minutes after injection. It peaks after 2 to 3 hours, and is effective for about 3 to 6 hours.
  • Intermediate-acting insulin takes longer to work, about 2-4 hours after injection. It peaks 4 to 12 hours after and lasts for 12 to 18 hours
  • The last type of insulin is known as long-acting insulin. This type of insulin reaches the bloodstream about 2 hours after injection, and lasts over 24 hours.

Insulin can be injected by the patient on their own, and they are usually taught by their doctor how to do it safely. This is an important part of type 1 diabetes treatment guidelines.

There are also devices that can administer insulin automatically. These are usually connected to blood sugar monitors and are especially useful for the elderly, since they might forget to take their insulin.

The goal of insulin therapy is to keep a diabetic’s blood sugar levels as close to normal as possible. To ensure that they take the right kind and dosage of insulin, glucose monitoring or monitoring the blood sugar level is very important.

Glucose monitoring

Along with insulin therapy, glucose monitoring is another important part of type 1 diabetes treatment guidelines.

Some diabetics use a device that takes a blood sample and checks the level of glucose in their blood. This is what most diabetics use, and you might have already seen one in television or film, or even in person.

A continuous glucose monitor is another device that diabetics use. As their namesake suggests, continuous glucose monitors can check a diabetic’s sugar levels constantly without the need to prick their skin to get a blood sample. Instead, it uses a thin needle that stays in the skin and helps it monitor blood sugar constantly.

One caveat of this however is that these types of monitors are not yet as accurate as standard blood sugar monitoring.

Typically, type 1 diabetes patients check their glucose levels at least 4-10 times a day. This not only helps make sure that their blood sugar levels are normal, but also helps them know if the therapy they are using to manage diabetes is effective or not.

Change in diet

It is also important for type 1 diabetes patients to change their diets to suit the right type 1 diabetes treatment guidelines. A change in diet is important when it comes to managing type 1 diabetes symptoms.

Most people commonly associated the “diabetic diet” to bland tasting foods, or avoiding sugar entirely. However, the “diabetic diet” is not actually as restrictive as most people think.

Diabetics need to eat a lot of fruits and vegetables, and cut back on fatty foods, animal protein, and carbohydrates. This type of diet is actually not much different from the ideal diet that most doctors and nutritionists would recommend.

What is the Diabetic Diet?

Exercise

Lastly, diabetics need to engage in at least 30 minutes of exercise daily. Exercise can not only help manage type 1 diabetes symptoms, but it also has other benefits as well.

Diabetics need to exercise because physical activity in general can help lower blood sugar levels. What this means is that through exercise, diabetics can lower their blood sugar naturally.

Another benefit that exercise has is it lowers the risk of cardiovascular diseases. Diabetics are particularly susceptible to cardiovascular diseases, so exercise is a must.

Ideally, diabetics need to engage in about an hour of exercise daily. If this is not possible, they should engage in at least 150 hours of exercise weekly.

Herbal medicine

Certain types of herbal medicines could also help with type 1 diabetes treatment. In particular, bitter melon or ampalaya is widely known in the Philippines as a means of managing diabetes.

It would be ideal to use herbal medicine in conjunction with more established forms of treatment. Depending on herbal medication completely, might not be as effective, and can possibly cause problems later on.

Learn more about Type 1 Diabetes, here.

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Sources

Type 1 Diabetes Through the Life Span: A Position Statement of the American Diabetes Association | Diabetes Care, https://care.diabetesjournals.org/content/37/7/2034, Accessed August 7 2020

Managing type 1, https://www.diabetesaustralia.com.au/managing-type-1#:~:text=Type%201%20diabetes%20is%20managed,healthy%20diet%20and%20eating%20plan, Accessed August 7 2020

Mayo Clinic: Safe in-person and virtual care – Mayo Clinic, https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/type-1-diabetes/diagnosis-treatment/drc-20353017, Accessed August 7 2020

Type 1 Diabetes: Management Strategies – American Family Physician, https://www.aafp.org/afp/2018/0801/p154.html, Accessed August 7 2020

Medication Management | ADA, https://www.diabetes.org/diabetes/medication-management, Accessed August 7 2020

The Management of Type 1 Diabetes – Endotext – NCBI Bookshelf, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK279114/, Accessed August 7 2020

Type 1 Diabetes Treatments – Learn about the different types of insulin for type 1 diabetes – Learn about the different types of insulin for type 1 diabetes and newer therapies to help you better manage your glucose better., https://www.endocrineweb.com/conditions/type-1-diabetes/type-1-diabetes-treatments, Accessed August 7 2020

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Written by Jan Alwyn Batara Updated Jan 22
Medically reviewed by Elfred Landas, M.D.
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