Type 1 diabetes requires daily attention to diet, exercise, and insulin. You may have times when this job feels overwhelming, but getting into a daily routine can help. And taking good care of yourself will also help you feel better, have a better quality of life, and prevent or delay complications from diabetes.
Spread carbohydrate throughout the day
Carbohydrate is the one nutrient in your diet that most affects blood sugar levels. A registered dietitian can help you learn about what foods contain carbohydrate and how to manage it in your diet.
- Diabetes: Coping With Your Feelings About Your Diet
- Diabetes: Counting Carbs if You Use Insulin
- Healthy Eating: Using a Plate Format to Plan Meals
- Quick Tips: Smart Snacking When You Have Diabetes
You need to take injections every day, because your pancreas no longer produces insulin. To learn more, see Medications.
Check your blood sugar often
Your doctor will want you to test your blood sugar level several times a day.
- Diabetes: Checking Your Blood Sugar
It's also important to know how to recognize and treat high or low blood sugar quickly.
- Diabetes: Dealing With Low Blood Sugar From Insulin
- Diabetes: Preventing High Blood Sugar Emergencies
Try to do moderate activity at least 2½ hours a week.1 One way to do this is to be active 30 minutes a day, at least 5 days a week.
Exercise safely. Drink plenty of water before, during, and after you are active. This is very important when it's hot out and when you do intense exercise. You can also try keeping track of your exercise on an activity log(What is a PDF document?).
Protect your feet
Daily foot care can prevent serious problems. Foot problems caused by diabetes are the most common cause of amputations.
- Diabetes: Taking Care of Your Feet
In addition to exercising, it is a good idea to limit the amount of alcohol you drink. The American Diabetes Association recommends that women with diabetes have no more than 1 drink a day and men with diabetes have no more than 2 drinks a day.2
One drink is 12 fl oz (0.4 L) of beer, 5 fl oz (0.2 L) of wine, or 1.5 fl oz (44.4 mL) liquor.
Do not smoke
Having type 1 diabetes can cause a lot of problems in your body. Smoking can make many of these problems worse, especially heart and blood vessel disease.
Smoking raises your cholesterol and makes it harder for your body to heal.
No matter how long you've smoked, your health will improve after you quit.