Treatments Available for Type 1 Diabetes
Type 1 diabetes (otherwise known as insulin-dependent or juvenile diabetes) occurs when the beta cells that produce insulin in the pancreas are destroyed. Type 1 diabetes is actually a form of autoimmune disorder where the immune system mistakes these beta cells for foreign invaders and attacks them. The human body needs insulin for processing and digesting glucose. Once these beta cells have been knocked out of commission, glucose will begin to build up in the blood stream and this eventually causes diabetes. This form of diabetes is often diagnosed in children and adolescents, which is why it is often referred to as juvenile diabetes. Currently there are a number of diabetes clinical trials which are testing new technology and medications to be used for patients with these diseases. Type 1 diabetes can be treated with the following:
For people who have been diagnosed with type 1 diabetes, they will need to start on an insulin injection regimen. These will usually need to be taken several times a day, depending on the form of insulin that has been prescribed. The primary goal of insulin treatment is to control the level of insulin in the patient’s bloodstream so that glucose levels remain close to normal. Insulin treatments will vary depending on the individual and it can be altered based on that person’s weight, physical fitness, and their diet.
The Diabetic Diet
One of the most important aspects of managing the symptoms of type 1 diabetes is watching what you eat on a regular basis. However, unlike what most people believe, this does not mean that you will be prohibited from any of your favorite foods ever again. Instead, you’ll need to be sure to eat more vegetables, fruits, and whole grains.
It is important for type 1 diabetics to build meal plans around foods that are high in nutrition and low in fat and calories. This means that you will have to limit the amount of sweets and animal byproducts that you consume. In fact, this is actually a really great dietary plan for anyone, even those who do not have diabetes.
You’ll also need to learn how to count the carbohydrates in your meals, so that you know how much insulin you’ll need to take in order to properly metabolize your food. Dietitians are often able to help people with type 1 diabetes develop a proper meal plan that will fit their particular lifestyle and food preferences.
No matter who you are, getting regular exercise is an important part of maintaining one’s health. For type 1 diabetics, you should first talk to your doctor about how much exercise you should be getting. Following your doctor’s OK, then you can engage in whatever activities you enjoy, but be sure not to overdo it at first. You must try to make this physical activity a part of your daily routine. For starters, you should aim for getting at least 30 minutes of physical exercise most days of the week. Effective exercises for type 1 diabetics include stretching and strength routines as well. Remember that if you have not been active in a while, you should be taking things slow at first.
Physical activity does cause blood sugar levels to drop, so you’ll need to remember to monitor your levels more often than usual while you are just beginning out. This is an important step to remember until you get a good feel of how exercise affects your blood sugar levels. In some cases, you may need to make adjustments to your meal plan or insulin doses in order to compensate for increased physical activity. For anyone who uses an insulin pump, they can set a temporary basal rate to keep their blood sugar levels from dipping. Your doctor can help guide you through this process.
Blood Sugar Monitoring
Depending on the form of insulin therapy that has been prescribed (such as single dose injections, multiple-dose injections, or insulin pump), type 1 diabetics must be sure to check their blood sugar levels at least four times a day, or even more. This is probably the single most important aspect of properly managing this medical condition. Careful monitoring of your blood sugar levels is the only way that you can be sure they remain within your target range. Also, diabetics should wash their hands before checking their blood sugar in order to get the most accurate measurement.
You can talk to your doctor about developing the best course of treatment for your specific case of diabetes. As many other medical conditions, each case can be different, and that means that some forms of medicinal treatments may work for some but not for others. If weight loss is required, your health care provider can tell you how much weight needs to be shed in order to reduce your risk of other complications, such as heart attack or stroke. With the proper diet, exercise, and weight management, any diabetic can take control of their condition and enjoy a better quality of life.