The Life of a Type 1 Diabetic

Elizabeth Bunger

What is Type 1 Diabetes?

Type 1 diabetes is a metabolic disease that stems for the body's incapability of producing any or enough insulin (this disease is usually recurrent in many adolescents or younger demographics). Insulin is a hormone that is secreted by the pancreas and is later transferred to cells. During this process, insulin binds to a specific insulin receptor located on the cells membrane that opens a transport protein to glucose, a simple sugar (just like an enzyme/catalyst binding to a particular substrate). However, since Type 1 diabetics have an insulin deficiency, no insulin is produced and it cannot bind to the cell. Therefore, glucose is inhibited from entering. Since glucose is the body's major source of energy, fatigue, thirst, and excessive urination is quite common among diabetics who are devoid of it.

Diet Recommendations

As a type 1 diabetic, it is important to maintain a healthy and balanced diet in order to avoid increased glucose levels in the bloodstream. It is also imperative to be conscious of the nutrients that should be limited by the body, and those that you need to get enough of.

While having diabetes does cause you to keep a constant food diary of your daily meals, it should not restrict you from eating a wide variety of foods. Along with every meal, a diabetic should be consuming an equal amount of proteins, lipids, and carbohydrates (with a heavy emphasis on fiber and protein). Since type 1 diabetics have an insulin insufficiency, it would also be beneficial to limit foods with a high sugar or starch content, as it could overwhelm the body.

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What Should My Daily Diet Look Like as a Type 1 Diabetic?

Example Of A Healthy Daily Diet Plan:


- 2 egg whites, scrambled with no butter

- 2 slices of thick cut turkey bacon

- 1 slice of whole wheat toast

- 1 cup of coffee


- 1 12oz soda can

- 1 turkey sandwich (2 slices of whole wheat bread, 3 slices of turkey lunch meat, lettuce, tomato, 1 slice of cheddar cheese)

- 15 fat-free tortilla chips


- 1 small cup of assorted fruit


- 6 ounces of salmon filet

- 1 cup of brown rice

- 1 cup of steamed broccoli

- 1/2 cup of orange juice


- 1/2 cup of sugar free frozen yogurt

Treatment Options

Although there is no current cure to the disease, diabetes, there are significant treatment options that can be taken in order to alleviate some of the symptoms that come with type 1 diabetes.

Since type 1 diabetics have an insulin deficiency (as mentioned more elaborately above), it is quite common for patients to take artificial insulin injections to help compensate for the body's dysfunctional response in synthesizing it's own insulin.

Insulin injections can be specific to a particular person based upon the intensity of the disease and the speed of their metabolism.

For more information regarding what insulin is optimal for you and what equipment can be used, please visit this website:

Blood Sugar Monitoring and Adjustments

Monitoring your blood sugar is especially crucial in type 1 diabetes because, when taken to a health care professional, these results can be used to analyze the body's response to the diabetic treatment.

How to Check It?

1. After washing your hands, insert a test strip into your Glucose Meter.

2. Use your lancing device on the side of your fingertip to get a drop of blood.

3. Touch and hold the edge of the test strip to the drop of blood, and wait for the result.

4. Your blood glucose level will appear on the meter's display.

How to check a persons blood sugar/ how to calibrate a blood sugar meter

What is Considered a Normal Blood Sugar and What Adjustments can be Made to Reach this Level?

Since a normal blood sugar is approximately 100 mg/dL, anything drastically above or below this amount could be indicative of hyper or hypoglycemia. Hyperglycemia occurs when blood sugar levels are too high, and likewise for hypoglycemia. Each of these conditions can either be a result of too much activity without an adequate amount of food, or consuming too much of it too quickly. If your blood sugar is too high, it might be necessary to take more artificial insulin so that carbohydrates can be processed more easily. However, if your blood sugar is too low, one might instead have to eat something with short bursts of energy in order to temporarily regulate the system.

Recommended Exercise

- Aim for 30 minutes of moderate-to-vigorous intensity aerobic exercise at least 5 days a week or a total of 150 minutes per week.

- Spread your activity out over at least 3 days during the week and try not to go more than 2 days in a row without exercising.


- Brisk walking (outside or inside on a treadmill)

- Bicycling/Stationary cycling indoors

- Dancing

- Low-impact aerobics

- Swimming or water aerobics

- Playing tennis

- Stair climbing

- Jogging/Running

- Hiking

- Rowing

- Ice-skating or roller-skating

- Cross-country skiing

- Moderate-to-heavy gardening

How does Staying Fit Keep my Diabete in Control?

Staying fit plays a vital role in controlling diabetes and preventing any long-term complications in the future. By exercising routinely, it is easier to regulate the blood glucose levels in the body. As you workout, the body becomes more sensitive to the effects of insulin on allowing glucose to enter different cells. This is known as insulin sensitivity. Insulin sensitivity describes a phenomenon in which smaller amounts of insulin are required to lower a person's blood sugar. In other words, the body does not need to exhaust itself to process carbohydrates, as a sufficient amount of insulin is already being utilized.

In addition to this, people with diabetes are also quite susceptible to acquiring arteriosclerosis, or blocked arteries, which can lead to a heart attack. Exercise, however, helps to keep the hearth healthy and vigor, and it can also lower cholesterol, which can also lead to arteriosclerosis.

As a diabetic, symptoms of fatigue and exhaustion are rather common. However, by staying fit and exercising frequently, you can not only develop a better maintenance of your weight, but you will also have more energy throughout the day.

Lifestyle Choices and Support Groups

As a diabetic it is imperative to maintain these exercise and diet recommendations. By monitoring your blood sugar and taking proper treatment when needed, controlling your diabetes is incredibly possible. In addition to this, it is beneficial to educate yourself as much as you can regarding this disease in order to be fully aware of further procedures that can be taken to build strong and nutritious daily habits and lifestyle choices. Another way to help cope with the new diagnosis of this disease is to join a support group or frequently meet with your healthcare team.

What Healthcare Professionals Should I Contact When in Need of Assistance?

Nutritionist: a nutritionist is a specialist on nutrition and healthy foods. If you ever feel that you are straying from your usual diet and are experiencing fatigue or excessive urination/thirst due to inconsistent dietary plans, it may be necessary to schedule an appointment with a nutritionist in order to further develop on idea of how you should be eating based upon your activity level.

Certified Diabetes Educator: A Certified Diabetes Educator (CDE) is a health professional who possesses comprehensive knowledge of and experience in pre-diabetes, diabetes prevention, and management. The CDE's help to educate and support people affected by this disease in order for them to develop an understanding and management of the different conditions affiliated with diabetes.

Psychologist: Throughout the process of being diagnosed with diabetes, a person can often become very overwhelmed and anxious about the new adjustments that will have to be made in that person's lifestyle. Therefore, it is quite common for diabetics to seek professional psychological assistance. By visiting with a psychologist frequently, not only will your daily diet and exercise requirements be maintained, but your emotional stability will also remain balanced.

Emotional Side of Diabetes - The Diabetes Download

Additional Websites:

Living With Type 1 Diabetes: American Diabetes Association®. (n.d.). Retrieved from

Type 1 diabetes - Living with - NHS Choices. (n.d.). Retrieved from

Everyday Life with Diabetes - Managing Daily Life with Type 1 Diabetes or Type 2 Diabetes. (n.d.). Retrieved from

Type 1 Diabetes: American Diabetes Association®. (n.d.). Retrieved from