Managing your type 1 diabetes
“Because my brother was diabetic, I actually knew quite a bit when diagnosed. In some respects, I wish I had listened more when I was diagnosed—I thought I knew everything I needed. I didn’t realise that being high for extended periods could be dangerous in the short-term—I thought it would only impact in a years’ time.” (Anonymous)
Dealing with type 1 diabetes is a very individual thing—there is not one treatment that suits every person. It’s important for you to know your diabetes. You also need to recognise the symptoms of something not being right. Learn to trust your instincts with your diabetes.
If you feel that your treatment is not working, go and speak to your doctor or diabetes educator. There may be a different way of treating it.
Managing your diabetes
“I wish I had known how to manage my blood sugar levels better. It took me a while to perfect the management of my levels but I guess that is something you learn with experience.” (Anonymous)
Type 1 diabetes is managed with insulin replacement through lifelong insulin injections (up to six every day), by following a healthy diet and eating plan, staying active and monitoring of blood glucose levels regularly (up to six times every day or as directed by a doctor or diabetes educator).
An aim of diabetes management is to keep blood glucose levels (BGLs) within a specified target range—between 4–6 mmol/L (fasting).
Keeping blood glucose levels in a healthy range will help prevent both short-term and long-term health complications.
You’ll need to manage your diabetes and manage your daily life. Try to develop a routine. Get to know your body and how you react to such things as:
- late nights
- physical activity
Eating well is an important part of managing your diabetes. There are certain foods that are going to be better for you and your diabetes than others.
Exercising is also an important part of managing your diabetes.
Try not to ignore your diabetes, you can still do the same things as your friends as long as you take care of your diabetes.
Funniest moment? “Pulling out my insulin needle in front of a person who has a phobia of needles!” (Ruth, age 25)
There are different ways of getting insulin into your body. Diabetes NSW’s as1diabetes.com.au website provides a good explanation on this. It can be by using:
The range of injection devices and tiny needles available today make injecting insulin much easier than most people imagine.
When starting insulin, your doctor or diabetes educator will help you adjust to the new routine and task of giving insulin and finding the right dose to reduce your blood glucose levels to acceptable levels.
Read more about managing diabetes.
Blood glucose levels
Checking your blood glucose is really important to help you manage your diabetes. Your doctor or diabetes educator will tell you how often and when to test (not everyone is the same). It’s a good idea to get into the habit of writing your levels down in a book (which your diabetes educator can give you). This will help determine how much insulin you need.
There are different ways you can test your blood glucose levels. Diabetes NSW’s as1diabetes.com.au website provides more information on this.