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Type 1 Diabetes: Recently Diagnosed - Topic Overview

Severe diabetic ketoacidosis can cause difficulty breathing, brain swelling (cerebral edema), coma, or death. But by taking your insulin regularly and keeping your blood sugar levels in your target range, you can avoid DKA.

The main symptoms of low blood sugar from diabetes are:

  • Sweating (almost always present).
  • Nervousness, shakiness, and weakness.
  • Dizziness and headache.
  • Confusion and irritability.
  • Slurred speech.

Low blood sugar occurs when the sugar (glucose) level in your blood drops below what your body needs to function normally. Not eating enough food or skipping meals, taking too much medicine (insulin), exercising more than usual, or taking certain medicines that lower blood sugar can cause your blood sugar to drop rapidly.

If your blood sugar level drops very low (usually below 20 mg/dL), you may lose consciousness or have a seizure. Eating or drinking something that contains sugar usually can bring your blood sugar back up to a safe level. But if you have symptoms of severe low blood sugar, you need medical care immediately.

What tests do I need for diabetes?

You need to test your blood sugar 3 or more times a day to make sure it falls within the target range you and your doctor set. You use a home glucose monitor to do these tests.

At first, you will keep in close touch with your doctor while finding the right dose of insulin that best keeps your blood sugar levels within your target range. When your blood sugar levels are staying within this range, you will see your doctor about every 3 to 6 months. During these checkups, your doctor will look at your treatment to see how well it is controlling your diabetes. If your treatment isn't working very well, your doctor may have you try different things. You will also start having a A1c test to find out what your average blood sugar level was during the 2 to 3 months before your visit. This test checks your long-term blood sugar control.

You also need to have regular tests to check your blood pressure and cholesterol levels, because high levels increase your risk of diabetes complications.

How is it treated?

You will take insulin injections daily or use an insulin pump. Treatment for type 1 diabetes focuses on keeping your blood sugar levels within your target range. This is called tight control. It is the best way to reduce your risk of diabetes complications. But some people-such as those whose blood sugar drops too low with tight control-may need to set a different target range with their doctor.

A target range for blood sugar 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 an A1c of less than 7%. This is a test of your blood sugar control for the past 2 to 3 months.

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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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