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Type 1 Diabetes: Recently Diagnosed - Home Treatment

Your daily routine now includes new tasks and safety measures because you have type 1 diabetes. You can help keep your blood sugar levels within a target range by following a routine. This means testing your blood sugar and eating at regular times. It also means consistently eating about the same amount of food every day. There is a lot to learn about this complex disease, but for now concentrate on these critical steps:

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. If your child has diabetes, talk with the dietitian about how to adjust meals and snacks for your child's varying appetite.

Diabetes: Counting Carbs if You Use Insulin
Diabetes: Using a Plate Format for Eating

Take insulin

You need to take injections every day because your pancreas no longer produces insulin. Eventually, your child can learn to give an insulin injection. Talk to your doctor and your child to find out when is a good time to start teaching your child to give an insulin injection.

Diabetes: Giving Yourself an Insulin Shot
Diabetes in Children: Giving Insulin Shots to a Child

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
Diabetes in Children: Checking Blood Sugar in a Child

Exercise regularly

Try to do moderate activity at least 2½ hours a week.4 One way to do this is to be active 30 minutes a day, at least 5 days a week. Some tips for exercising safely may help. 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 also help to keep track of your exercise on an activity logform.gif(What is a PDF document?).

Encourage your child to do moderate to vigorous activity at least 1 hour every day. It’s okay for them to be active in smaller blocks of time that add up to 1 hour or more each day. Children with type 1 diabetes can participate in sports just like children who do not have diabetes. But children who use insulin are at risk of low blood sugar. Some tips on safe exercising for your child with type 1 diabetes can help prevent low blood sugar.

Limit alcohol

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 one drink a day and men with diabetes have no more than two drinks a day.5 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.

Quit smoking

Tobacco has many bad health effects, especially for people with diabetes. 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. For help quitting, see the topic Quitting Smoking.

More Information

  • How do I care for my child who has type 1 diabetes?
  • How can children participate in their diabetes care?
  • What are the psychosocial issues for children with type 1 diabetes?
  • What issues affect children and teens attending school?
  • Snack suggestions for young children with diabetes
  • Tips for decreasing mealtime battles with young children

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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