Receiving a diagnosis of type 1 diabetes can be shocking and difficult to accept. But once the initial shock wears off, it is time to get to work. Living with type 1 diabetes does not mean a life that is any less long, full, active, and vibrant than it was before. All it takes to keep the condition at bay and avoid its more severe complications is some knowledge, effort, and vigilance.
Understanding Type 1 Diabetes
The first step in learning to live with type 1 diabetes is to understand what it means to have type 1 diabetes.
Previously called juvenile diabetes, an inaccurate moniker because it can develop in people of all ages, type 1 diabetes afflicts about five percent of the estimated 422 million people around the world who have diabetes.
When the body is functioning properly, insulin-producing cells in the pancreas called islets detect the amount of glucose in the bloodstream. Islets then release the right amount of insulin to normalize blood sugar levels and facilitate the release of glucose to be used as energy. However, in type 1 diabetes, the body’s immune system attacks the islet cells in the pancreas.
Without islet cells, the body cannot produce its own insulin. As a result, the sugars stay in the bloodstream, essentially starving the cells of the energy they need to maintain the body’s essential functions.
Monitoring and Controlling Glucose and Insulin Levels Is Key
These imbalances in blood glucose and insulin levels are why monitoring and maintaining the right levels of both are so critical to living with type 1 diabetes.
Traditional glucose monitoring involved pricking a finger multiple times a day to get and test blood samples, an undoubtedly inconvenient and uncomfortable process. Now, finger-prick glucose monitoring is no longer necessary due to advancements in technology. Continuous Glucose Monitoring (CGM) is a tested, approved, accurate, and easy-to-use transceiver device that helps those with diabetes monitor keep abreast of their blood sugar levels 24/7 without any need to stop what their doing to take a blood sample.
To keep insulin levels where they need to be, individuals with type 1 diabetes typically need to receive insulin by injection or insulin pump before engaging in various activities, such as sleeping or eating.
Maintaining a healthy and balanced diet is good for everyone, including folks with diabetes. Eat plenty of vegetables, fruits, legumes, whole grains, dairy products, unsaturated fats (such as olive oil and avocados), and proteins (poultry, fish, and lean meat).
But people with type 1 diabetes need to pay particular attention to their carbohydrate intake and ensure that they take enough insulin to process their food. This can be tricky and involve some trial-and-error with the insulin-to-carbs ratio as every person’s body chemistry is a bit different.
As with diet, exercise is as important to the health and well-being of people with type 1 diabetes as it is for everyone else. But be careful and speak with your doctor before starting any exercise regimen. Too much exertion can cause blood glucose levels to drop too low. Make sure you eat before working out and check your blood sugar levels before and after exercising.
Continuous Glucose Monitoring Is A Game-Changer For Those With Type 1 Diabetes
With easy-to-use features that can help each person proactively record and track glucose levels—as well as provide valuable insights on data that helps manage exercise, meals, and daily health status— Continuous Glucose Monitoring is a game-changer for individuals with type 1 diabetes.
Contact us today to see if you qualify for CGM and access our guide to continuous glucose monitoring.