What is Type 1 Diabetes? - Fairview Health Services
 
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What Is Type 1 Diabetes?

Diabetes is a chronic (lifelong) condition that keeps your body from turning food into energy. When you have type 1 diabetes, your body stops making insulin. Without insulin, your cells can’t get fuel to burn for energy. This is why you may feel weak or tired. Managing your diabetes and taking insulin will help you feel better and stay healthy.

Monitor Your Blood SugarWoman sitting at breakfast table looking at glucometer and writing in glucose log.

  • You need to check your blood sugar each day. This tells you whether your blood sugar is within your target range.

  • Your healthcare team will tell you how often and when to test each day.

  • When your blood sugar is within your target range, your insulin, meal plan, and activity plan are working to keep you healthy.

  • If your blood sugar is too high or too low, your healthcare team may adjust your insulin or make changes in your meal plan.

Take Your Insulin

Your body needs insulin to turn blood sugar into energy. When you have type 1 diabetes, your body doesn’t make insulin. So, you need to take it several times each day.

  • Insulin is most often taken by injection (shot). Sometimes, it is taken using a penlike device or a special pump.

  • Your healthcare team will show you how to take insulin.

  • Your doctor will prescribe the type and dose of insulin you need each day.

Follow Your Meal Plan

Following your meal plan will help you manage your blood sugar.

  • Your healthcare team will help you create a meal plan that works for you.

  • You don’t have to give up all the foods you like. But you do need to follow some guidelines, which your healthcare provider will set for you.

  • You need to eat your meals and snacks at about the same times each day. Never skip meals!

Be Physically Active

Physical activity helps to lower your blood sugar.

  • Your healthcare team will work with you to plan an activity program that’s best for you.

  • Your activity program will be based on your age, general health, and what type of activity you like to do.

Take Care of Yourself

When you have diabetes, you may be more likely to develop other health problems. These include foot, eye, heart, and kidney problems.

  • Your healthcare team will tell you how to care for yourself to help prevent these problems.

  • You also need to have frequent checkups, including eye and foot exams and blood tests.

 

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