Treating type 1 diabetes

With type 1 diabetes, some of the cells in your pancreas, the beta cells, which make insulin, are destroyed by your immune system. Your immune system is what your body uses to fight infections, but for some reason in type 1 diabetes, it goes out of control and attacks your beta cells. 

This usually happens in young children, although it can occur later in life. It means that you need to take replacement insulin every day to control your blood glucose – something that soon becomes part of your normal daily routine.

If you were very young when you were diagnosed, your parents will have taken care of monitoring your blood sugar and deciding your insulin doses. As you grow older you will learn to be responsible for your own blood glucose control.

Young type 1 patient (Charlie) standing by net with woman sitting next to him

The goal of insulin therapy is to control your blood glucose by replacing the natural secretion of insulin. This is done by giving you a combination of insulin that works when you eat (mealtime) and in between meals and overnight. This can be done by several injections per day or an insulin pump.

The amount of insulin taken must be balanced with how much food you eat and how active you are. You need to monitor your blood glucose to decide how much insulin is required and how you are managing to control it.