Life with Type 1 Diabetes

by: Ethan Bautista

General Information on Type 1

In a normal functioning body, a gland called the pancreas produces a hormone called insulin. The insulin attaches to an insulin receptor on a cell, which triggers a glucose transport protein to open. This protein then allows the glucose in the blood stream (blood sugar) to enter the cell and give it energy. This effect is similar to that of a key unlocking a door for people to walk through. This also means that the blood sugar levels are able to regulate themselves and maintain homeostasis, or a stable condition. As a type 1 diabetic, your pancreas can't produce insulin, which unfortunately results in your cells not getting the energy they need. This condition also leaves you in cases of blood sugar being too high or too low, without a good possibility of maintaining a stable condition. So since your body can't make insulin, you will have to inject yourself with artificial insulin so you can maintain proper blood sugar levels. Type 1 diabetes is most commonly found in children and young adults.

Diabetic Diet/Lifestyle

Diabetics don't follow a severely strict diet, but a lifestyle. Diabetics can still enjoy their favorite foods, as long as they eat it in conjunction with healthy foods. A nutritious and well balanced diet is an important part of managing diabetes. Just like in a normal healthy diet, moderation is key. You should be eating a well balanced meal with a combination of carbohydrates, proteins and healthy lipids. The recommended carbohydrate you should be eating are high-fiber or slow-releasing carbohydrates like whole wheat pasta, brown rice or bread. Carbs that are high in fiber are called slow-releasing because they are digested less quickly than regular carbs. This means that the sugar being broken down from the carbs is entering your body at a better pace for your condition. It also gives you lasting energy. It's very important to pay attention to the amount of sugar consumed so that your blood sugar doesn't spike. Proteins that are lean such as chicken, bison and turkey are recommended. Good fats to eat are unsaturated fats and omega 3 oils because they support brain health and fight body inflammations.

Blood Sugar Monitoring and Adjustment

In addition to eating right, monitoring your blood sugar is something that you must personally do. After seeing a physician, he or she will probably give, or tell you to get a blood sugar monitor. These monitors are crucial for your treatment because they give immediate feedback on the effects of the medicine, insulin or food of the glucose levels in your blood. Whether the effects are good or bad can be determined by feedback loops. There are two types of feedback loops, negative and positive. Negative feedback, believe it or not, is generally better than positive feedback. This is because negative loops show numbers deviate from the normal blood sugar level (gets lower or higher), but they eventually return to normal. However, positive feedback happens whenever the levels keep lowering or rising, and don't return to normal. Both of these feedback loops can give crucial information to both you and your doctor on how to adjust your treatment, whether it be more insulin shots, or less carbohydrate intake.

Exercise/Fitness

A person with type 1 diabetes needs to have a good balance of the food that they eat along with the insulin doses they have, regardless of how strenuous their workout is. Before you workout, take into account your blood sugar before the exercise, the intensity of the exercise, the insulin dose and how long it will be. For example, you should take less insulin or more carbohydrates in a hard workout. This way you have more glucose in your blood to work with so you don't reach a hypoglycemic state, or so your blood sugar levels don't get too low. If your blood sugar monitor shows a number that is too low, then have a pre-exercise snack of carbohydrates or another sugar. This is how regular activity controls type 1 diabetes.

Professional Help

Certified Diabetic Educator (CDE)

These health professionals focus on diabetes exclusively. They are responsible for educating and supporting people affected by diabetes so that they diabetic understand and know how to manage their condition.


Dietitian

One of the most important parts of managing diabetes is consuming the right amount of the right food, and dietitians can give diabetics the necessary information to do so. They are experts in designing custom nutrition plans for variety of people and focus on the impact of food on health.


Primary Care Physician

This type of physician is the one a patient seeking healthcare services sees. They can examine and treat patients of all ages (which is great for type 1 diabetics). And for those with serious conditions, such as diabetes, the physician can refer them to a good specialist for better treatment.

APA Citations

References

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Blood sugar testing: Why, when and how - Mayo Clinic. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/diabetes/in-depth/blood-sugar/art-20046628

Diabetes Diet and Food Tips: Eating to Prevent, Control and Reverse Diabetes. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.helpguide.org/articles/diet-weight-loss/diabetes-diet-and-food-tips.htm

Dietitian | explorehealthcareers.org. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://explorehealthcareers.org/en/career/139/dietitian

Exercise and Type 1 Diabetes: American Diabetes Association®. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.diabetes.org/food-and-fitness/fitness/exercise-and-type-1-diabetes.html

Family Practice Doctors: Salary, Duties and Requirements. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://study.com/articles/Family_Practice_Doctors_Salary_Duties_and_Requirements.html

Symptoms Lifestyle Changes to Manage Type 1 Diabetes Conditions InDepth 20240. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://health.cvs.com/GetContent.aspx?token=f75979d3-9c7c-4b16-af56-3e122a3f19e3&chunkiid=20240

Type 1 Diabetes: American Diabetes Association®. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.diabetes.org/diabetes-basics/type-1/?loc=db-slabnav

What is a CDE?, Certification Info, Diabetes Education, Certification, Examination | NCBDE. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.ncbde.org/certification_info/what-is-a-cde/