Type 1 diabetes is managed with insulin therapy, which involves multiple daily doses of insulin solution taken with an injection pen or pump. You'll also need to monitor your blood glucose closely, and learn to balance insulin dosage against how much you eat and exercise. Good diabetes management is a lifelong commitment, but there are now more tools than ever to help you succeed.
If your pancreas stops producing enough insulin, you will need to take responsibility for controlling your own blood glucose. Insulin therapy is designed to replace the action of the insulin your body no longer makes, and there are different types of therapy to suit different needs.
Insulin therapy involves taking a combination of insulin that works when you eat (a 'mealtime' or 'bolus' insulin dose) and between meals and overnight (a 'basal' insulin dose). This can be done with multiple daily injections, or an insulin pump, and soon becomes part of your normal daily routine.
The amount of insulin you take must be balanced against how much food you eat and how active you are. You need to monitor your blood glucose to decide how much insulin you need, and to understand how well you are managing to control your blood glucose overall.
Remember: maintaining the
target blood glucose levels you set with your healthcare
professional is the best way to stay healthy and avoid serious
health complications in later life.
Insulin is taken either by injection under the skin, or by infusion pump.
Modern injection pens are designed to be discreet and easy to use, and have tiny needles that are virtually painless. There is a range of pens to suit different needs. They can be pre-filled and disposable, or refillable and durable. Some have a memory function and need only light pressure to operate, making them suitable for people with memory, eyesight or dexterity challenges.
Insulin pumps are small electronic devices that imitate the function of your pancreas by delivering doses of insulin as required throughout the day. Pumps inject insulin through a small tube inserted under your skin. Wearing a pump removes the need for multiple injections, although they do need to be placed at a new site on the body every few days to avoid infection.
When you take medicine to increase insulin in your body, it can sometimes make your blood glucose drop too low. Very low blood glucose, known as hypoglycaemia, or a 'hypo', is dangerous. It can leave you feeling shaky, weak and confused, and can lead to you losing consciousness.
It is important that you learn to recognise the signs of a hypo and know what to do if you or someone around you experiences one. You can treat a hypo by eating or drinking something sugary, such as fruit juice, candy, a fizzy drink (non diet) or glucose tablets. Always carry something with you just in case.
CLOSER TO NATURE
The closer insulin therapy mimics the natural insulin response of someone who does not have diabetes, the better it can balance blood glucose levels and prevent the development of long-term health problems. The latest generation of insulins has come closer to this natural response than ever, and can offer new treatment possibilities as a result.
Type 1 diabetes is a lifelong disease in which your body stops making any or enough insulin. Knowing the symptoms of type 1 diabetes, and getting screened if you spot them, will mean you can be diagnosed and start treatment before other health complications appear.
A type 1 diabetes diagnosis does not have to hold you back. But you will need to learn to manage your blood glucose and adapt your routine for different situations and activities. We have lots of information and resources to help you get and stay on track.