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Type 1 Diabetes: Living With the Disease - Treatment Overview

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You may also want to know:

  • What needs to be done if you want to become pregnant, such as changing your treatment or getting additional screening tests.
  • Where to find a support group or camp for people with diabetes.
  • What immunizations you need. For more information, see the topic Immunizations.
  • How to deal with a rebellious teen who has diabetes.

How often should I see my doctor?

See your doctor about every 3 to 6 months for the rest of your life. During these checkups, your doctor will look at your treatment and adjust it, if needed. Other exams and tests will be done according to a recommended schedule. After you have had diabetes for 3 to 5 years, you will start having annual exams and tests to monitor for eye and kidney damage.

What if my blood sugar level is very high?

If you aren't taking enough insulin, have a severe infection or other illness, or become severely dehydrated, your blood sugar level may rise very high. This can cause diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA), which is usually treated in a hospital and often in the intensive care unit (ICU). There you are watched closely and get frequent blood tests for glucose and electrolytes. You will get insulin through a vein (intravenous, or IV) to bring your blood sugar levels down.

You also will get fluids through the IV and treatment to correct electrolyte problems in your body. These electrolyte problems are typically with potassium and phosphorous. You may have to stay in the hospital for a few days to get your blood sugar level back into your target range.

What if my blood sugar level is too low?

Low blood sugar (hypoglycemia) means that the level of sugar (glucose) in your blood has dropped below what your body needs to function normally. When your blood sugar level drops below 70 mg/dL, you most likely will have symptoms such as feeling tired, weak, or shaky. Symptoms of low blood sugar can develop quickly. If you eat something that contains sugar, these symptoms may only last a short time. But if your blood sugar continues to drop, you could lose consciousness or have a seizure. If you have symptoms of severe low blood sugar, you need medical care immediately.

What To Think About

The 10-year Diabetes Control and Complications Trial (DCCT) and follow-up Epidemiology of Diabetes Interventions and Complications (EDIC) study showed that keeping blood sugar levels within a target range helps decrease your chances of developing complications from diabetes, such as eye, kidney, heart, blood vessel, and nerve damage. As a result of this study, experts recommend that you carefully control your blood sugar. This is often referred to as strict or tight blood sugar control.

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WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: November 05, 2010
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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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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