Diabetes Type 1

Type 1 diabetes is a health problem where your immune system destroys the cells in the pancreas that make insulin. Insulin helps your body use sugar as energy for many of its daily functions. Without insulin, your blood sugar will go up to dangerous levels. Diabetes does not go away. You will learn to manage it with eating the right way and taking drugs as ordered by a doctor.


Diabetes and Heart Disease

Diabetes and Heart Disease education by Maureen Kane APN, CDE, Nurse Practitioner and Certified Diabetes Educator.


Learn More about Diabetes Type 1

Ask your doctor what you need to do when you go home. Make sure you ask questions if you do not understand what the doctor says. This way you will know what you need to do. Check your blood sugar level. Your doctor will tell you how often, but it is most often a few times a day. Keep a list of your blood sugar levels. This will help you learn what causes high or low readings and help you manage your diabetes.

  • You will need insulin. Talk to your doctor to see if shots a few times a day or an insulin pump is best for you.
  • Eat a balanced, healthy diet. You may need to keep track of how much sugar and starch is in your food and drinks. Talk about this with your doctor or dietitian.
  • Talk with your doctor about the right amount of exercise for you. Exercise may affect how much insulin you need. Ask your doctor for instructions.
  • Take extra care of your feet. Check them often. Always wear socks and shoes. Never walk barefoot, especially outdoors. Take special care around the pool and at the beach as these surfaces may be extremely hot and burn your feet. Your doctor may want you to see a foot doctor each year.
  • Have your eyes checked each year by an eye doctor.
  • Always wear a medical alert bracelet or carry a card that says you have diabetes.
  • Make family members aware of your illness and how to help.
  • Talk with your doctor often. Your diet and insulin shots may need to be changed. They will depend on your health and other needs. Your doctor may ask you to make visits to the office to check on your progress. Be sure to keep these visits.
  • Review your blood sugar record with your doctor. Your doctor may check a lab test called an A1C that gives an idea about your average blood sugar over the last 3 months.
  • Your doctor will also want to watch other aspects of your health, such as your blood pressure, how well your kidney works, and your cholesterol.

You need to take insulin for the rest of your life. This will help to control your blood sugar. The doctor may also give you other drugs. These may help to control other health problems and avoid bad side effects from your illness.

Talk to your doctor about how you can be active. This may help control your blood sugar. You can garden, bike, walk, swim, or do other activities. Always check your blood sugar before and after you are active to see how your body responds. Be sure to drink lots of water before, during, and after activities.

  • Work closely with your doctor or dietitian on what foods you may eat. You may need to balance how much sugar, starches, fat, and protein are in your food.
  • Eat meals at the same time each day. Do not skip a meal.
  • Eat low-fat foods like lean cuts of meat, fish, skinless chicken and turkey, legumes, and low-fat milk.
  • Eat foods that are fiber-rich like vegetables, whole grain bread and cereals.
  • Limit beer, wine, and mixed drinks (alcohol).
  • Avoid sugary drinks like soda and fruit juices

If this illness is not controlled, these problems might happen:

  • Eye problems
  • Kidney problems
  • Infection
  • High blood pressure
  • Nerve problems that cause numbness and tingling
  • Problems breaking down food
  • Heart problems
  • Stroke
  • Sores which are hard to heal
  • Foot problems
  • Blockages in the blood vessels in the legs
  • Dangerously high or low blood sugar levels

This is a life-long problem and you cannot prevent it. You can still lead a normal life. Diabetes can be managed through diet, drugs, and being active.

  • Very high or very low blood sugar readings that do not respond to treatment.
  • Signs of low blood sugar. These include hunger, dizziness, shaking, a fast heartbeat, confusion, or sweating. Keep hard candies, glucose tablets, liquid glucose, or juice on hand for low blood sugar. Ask the doctor how much of these items should be given to treat a low blood sugar reading.
  • Signs of high blood sugar. These include sleepiness, blurred vision, passing urine more often, increased thirst, breath has a fruity sweet smell, upset stomach and throwing up, dizziness, or passing out.
  • Feet or legs are numb or painful
  • Sores on your feet

Make sure you always carry a diabetes emergency kit. Be sure you and the people around you know how and when to use the kit. Check the expiration date of the items in your kit often.