Type 1 Diabetes: Living With the Disease - Treatment Overview
The goal of treatment for
type 1 diabetes is to keep your blood sugar levels
target range and to reduce the risk for
complications. Daily diabetes care and regular medical checkups will help you
Keeping your blood sugar in a target range is the best way to reduce your chance of
A target-range blood sugar level
is 70 mg/dL to 130 mg/dL before eating or less than 180 mg/dL 1 to 2 hours
after eating. It also may be measured as a hemoglobin A1c of less than 7%. This is a test of your blood sugar control for
the past 2 to 3 months.
Your daily care includes:
Giving yourself insulin shots or using
Checking your blood sugar.
Dealing with low blood sugar from insulin.
Preventing high blood sugar emergencies.
Counting carbohydrate grams or
using a plate format for eating.
Taking care of your feet.
You will also need to:
Try to do at least 2½ hours a week of
moderate exercise. Take steps to
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. It may help to keep track of your exercise on an
activity log(What is a PDF document?).
Talk to your doctor about whether you should take low-dose aspirin. Daily low-dose aspirin (81 milligrams) may help prevent heart problems if you are at risk for heart attack or stroke. People
with diabetes are 2 to 4 times more likely than people who don't have diabetes
to die from heart and blood vessel diseases.5
Control your blood pressure. Blood pressure
should be less than 130/80 millimeters of mercury (mm Hg) in people with
diabetes. Moderate exercise, such as 30 minutes of brisk walking most days of
the week, can help lower blood pressure. But you may need to take one or more
medicines-such as angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors or angiotensin
II receptor blockers (ARBs)-to achieve your goal.5
Control your cholesterol. A low-fat diet,
exercise, and weight loss can lower your cholesterol. Your body needs insulin
to process fats, as it does with carbohydrate. If your diabetes is poorly
controlled, the fats in your blood (especially triglycerides) can rise a lot.
You should strive for a goal of less than 100 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL)
or aim for keeping it at 70 mg/dL, for low-density lipoprotein (LDL), or "bad,"
cholesterol. HDL should be more than 40 mg/dL for men and more than 50 mg/dL
for women. Triglycerides should be less than 150 mg/dL. You may need to take
lipid-lowering medicines, such as statins, to reach your goals.5
Not smoke. Or, if you have a teen with diabetes, encourage him
or her not to smoke.
precautions when you are driving and not drive if your
blood sugar is below 70 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL).
care of your skin and
your teeth and gums.
Know what to do
when you are sick.
Learn how to
prevent problems while traveling.
Grieve the things you feel that you have lost because
you have diabetes.
Limit your alcohol intake to no more than 1 drink a day for
women (none if you are pregnant) and 2 drinks a day for men. Discuss with your doctor whether you should drink alcohol.
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Your level is currently
If the level is below 70 and you are experiencing symptoms such as shaking, sweating or difficulty thinking, you will need to raise the number immediately. A quick solution is to eat a few pieces of hard candy or 1 tablespoon of sugar or honey. Recheck your numbers again in 15 minutes to see if the number has gone up. If not, repeat the steps above or call your doctor.
People who experience hypoglycemia several times in a week should call their health care provider. It's important to monitor your levels each day so you can make sure your numbers are within the range. If you are pregnant always consult with your health care provider.
Congratulations on taking steps to manage your health.
However, it's important to continue to track your numbers so that you can make lifestyle changes if needed. If you are pregnant always consult with your physician.
Your level is high if this reading was taken before eating. Aim for 70-130 before meals and less than 180 two hours after meals.
Even if your number is high, it's not too late for you to take control of your health and lower your blood sugar.
One of the first steps is to monitor your levels each day. If you are pregnant always consult with your physician.
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