Living With Type 1 Diabetes
You've just been told you have type 1 diabetes. You've just been told your child or a loved one has type 1 diabetes. What now?
At its core, proper type 1 diabetes management is composed of a handful of elements: blood glucose control and insulin management, exercise, nutrition and support.
A diagnosis of type 1 diabetes means your pancreas is no longer capable of producing insulin. Through multiple daily injections with insulin pens or syringes or an insulin pump, it will be up to you to monitor your blood glucose levels and appropriately administer your insulin. You will need to work closely with your healthcare team to determine which insulin or insulins are best for you and your body.
Exercise is also a key component of proper diabetes care. Along with all of the other benefits you will receive from being active, your diabetes will also respond in kind with more stable blood glucose levels. We have plenty of information and tips to help get you motivated and keep your exercise routines fresh.
Nutrition is one of the most important pieces of the diabetes puzzle. Learning how different foods affect your blood glucose and how manage that within your daily routine will be key. Working with a registered dietitian who has expertise in type 1 diabetes to establish a personalized eating plan is a great place to start. This will include a strategy for balancing food, insulin doses, and physical activity. It will be important to revisit your eating plan as your preferences and daily activities change over time. A dietitian can also provide valuable guidance if you need to lose weight.
- Nutritional Needs Through the Life Span
- How foods affect blood glucose
- Develop solid meal plans
People with type 1 diabetes are at a heightened risk for mental health issues, including diabetes distress, depression, anxiety, and disordered eating. However, these are all treatable disorders. It is important to pay attention to your feelings about having diabetes or taking care of someone who has diabetes. Talk to your physician, or your diabetes educator, or anyone you feel comfortable with on your diabetes care team. They can help you connect to mental health care, whether it is with a counselor, a therapist, a psychiatrist, or a social worker. Having support to live with diabetes is essential. Sometimes talking to a friend with diabetes can also be helpful.
Learn more about diabetes and mental health.
Emotional support, while not often initially considered, plays a key role in diabetes care. Connecting with other people living with diabetes that understand the daily grind of counting carbohydrates, testing blood glucose multiple times each day and dealing with the various highs and lows (both physical and emotional) of life with diabetes can make all the difference.
Talking with people who "get it" is important, and our Online Community offers a place for people living with and affected by diabetes to find that support. Our Family Link program connects parents of children with type 1 diabetes.
You Can Do This
Living with type 1 diabetes is tough but with proper care can be a footnote in your life's story. Balancing nutrition, exercise and proper blood glucose management techniques with the rest of your life's priorities mean anything is possible:
- Win an Amazing Race
- Become an American Idol
- Become a NASCAR driver
- Become a pop star with international appeal.
No matter what you want to achieve, You Can Do This.