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Living Well with Type 1 Diabetes: Tips for Managing Your Condition

21 Jun 2024

Consider your body as a busy city, every part of this city has an important role to play in running it. Your blood sugar acts as a conductor navigating the traffic and also ensuring that the energy is delivered wherever required. But when the city’s system is disturbed, diabetes comes into play. Join us as we discuss what happens, how it happens and how can one deal with it!

What is Type 1 Diabetes?

When your pancreas produces little to no insulin (a hormone that helps regulate your glucose), it develops into a chronic condition called Type 1 diabetes. In the absence of insulin, glucose starts accumulating in your blood and eventually leads to high blood sugar levels.

Who does type 1 diabetes mostly affect?

Type 1 diabetes mostly affects children, adolescents or young adults. However, it can occur at any age. The exact cause is not yet known but it is usually a combination of genetic and environmental factors. Different from type 2 diabetes, type 1 cannot be prevented using lifestyle modifications, it requires lifelong insulin therapy.

What are the Symptoms of Type 1 Diabetes?

For early diagnosis and management, to recognie the type 1 diabetes symptoms. They may include:

  • Feeling increasingly thirsty
  • Feeling increasingly hungry
  • Increased urination frequency
  • Sudden weight loss
  • Feeling fatigued
  • Cuts and sores that heal slowly
  • Experiencing Mood swings
  • Vaginal infections

What are the Treatment Options for Type 1 Diabetes?

When you’re going through type 1 diabetes, you will need synthetic insulin every day, multiple times, to be able to live well. The goal will be to try and keep your blood sugar in a safe range.

At times, type 1 diabetes management can be complicated because there are several factors that may affect your blood sugar level. However, it helps in preventing short-term and long-term complications. The usual type 1 diabetes treatment options are:

  1. Insulin Therapy
    Because your body is unable to produce insulin, insulin can be taken in the form of injections or from insulin pumps to regulate your blood sugar levels.
  2. Continuous Glucose Monitoring (CGM)
    With the help of a CGM device, you can record real-time readings of your glucose levels and make thoughtfully analysed decisions about your dose and lifestyle.
  3. Carbohydrate Counting
    You can monitor your carb intake and try to match it with your dose to control your sugar levels every time you have a meal.
  4. Regular Exercise
    Being physically active also helps in reducing your blood sugar and improves your insulin sensitivity.
  5. Healthy Eating

    Having a diet that is balanced ie rich in veggies, proteins, grains and fruits is important to manage your blood sugar levels.

What are Some Lifestyle Tips for Managing Type 1 Diabetes?

Having type 1 diabetes doesn’t just mean that you only look after your blood sugar levels. You have to take up a holistic process for your good health and well-being, which all boils down to improving your lifestyle. Here’s how you can do it:

  1. Recognie the potential problems

    Having a high blood sugar level can impact different parts of your body. Despite controlling your condition well, issues can arise. Hence getting regular checkups is important. You can try recogniing little signs like tingling, numbness, swelling, unhealing sores etc. these signs early can help prevent more damage.

  2. Eat properly and on time
    Instead of eating your daily 3 meals, you will have to eat food throughout the day in small quantities. It’s best to talk to your dietitian and see what foods suit your body the best. It should be a good combination of proteins, healthy fats, whole grains, , veggies and beverages with little to no sugar.
  3. Be more active

    When you perform physical activities regularly, you start seeing the difference eventually. It has multiple benefits – balanced sugar levels, low blood pressure, weight loss etc. It can also help prevent kidney and eye complications.

    Remember to closely monitor your sugar levels before, during and post your workouts as exercising can elevate or lower your sugar levels and can even trigger hypoglycemia (very low blood sugar).

    Try finding exercises that give you the most joy and add them to your daily routine. It can be anything from swimming to walking cycling or dancing. Just aim for at least 150 of exercise every week. 

  4. Quit smoking or never start
    Controlling diabetes becomes difficult when you have a habit of smoking. It can evoke nerve damage or blindness. Cigarettes tend to elevate your sugar levels.
  5. Get support
    Try to talk to people who are going through what you’re going through, it helps. Join support groups or sessions where you can meet more people who are fighting the same battle and aiming for a better lifestyle. Also, take the help of your family and friends whenever needed. You’re not in this alone.
  6. Stay informed
    Knowledge is power, Stay up to date about your condition. It will help you better understand and deal with what is happening to your body. Learn more about type 1 diabetes treatments and also how you can revise your lifestyle choices. You can stay informed by attending educative classes, and reading online and offline on reputable sources.
  7. Don’t be too hard on yourself
    Managing a condition like diabetes is an ongoing process. You may have days when you feel low and you may have days when you feel your best but don’t give yourself a hard time because of that. Sometimes things may not go as planned and that is completely fine. You’re only human. Try learning from these times, celebrate small victories and keep motivating yourself.

Wrapping up type 1 diabetes management for you, remember to not just carry the knowledge but also a sense of determination. In this bustle, support is required and is also available. All you need to do is reach out. Believe in yourself and your strength, you can navigate through the twists of life and come out stronger!

About the Author

Medically reviewed by

Dr. Devina Aswal
MBBS, DDM, FCR, CIC

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