Living With T1 Diabetes
Anyone who was diagnosed with juvenile diabetes (T1D), knows all about the ups and downs. We all have great days (if you’re newly diagnosed and haven’t experienced them yet, don’t be discouraged) and some terrible days. Most days are average. Average is very much okay.
What is T1D?
Type 1 Diabetes is known as juvenile diabetes or insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus. Most people who have T1D were diagnosed as children (hence juvenile), but some are diagnosed later on in life. T1D is an autoimmune disease where a person’s pancreas stops creating insulin and therefore needs to take manufactured insulin. People with T1D do not get the disease from eating too much sugar or not doing enough exercise, we are just unlucky and in some cases have bad genes.
There is no way to prevent T1D and thus far, no way to cure it. Taking insulin injections help diabetics control their blood sugars, but there is no way to just get rid of it.
Type 2 Diabetes, however, can be controlled with diet and exercise (in most cases). T2 diabetics usually have some form of insulin resistance, but if they follow their doctor’s direction, they will be able to go back to a diabetes-free life. Although, this isn’t always the case.
What Can’t T1D’s Eat?
In short, there’s nothing that a T1D can’t eat. Like everyone else, cutting down on simple carbs (sugar, white flours, breads and pastas) and trans fats (deep fried foods, etc.) is better for our overall health. Since diabetic take insulin, they will just have to adjust their insulin depending on what foods they eat. Please, never tell a diabetic “you can’t eat that” or “you shouldn’t eat that” or “are you allowed to eat that”. This is the most frustrating thing a diabetic has to listen to. When our blood sugars are low, we definitely can eat a chocolate bar, or a piece of cake. If we can’t eat something, neither can you!
You’ve Been Diagnosed, Now What?
If you have been recently diagnosed with T1D, my suggestion (speak with your doctor first) is to speak with a dietician who has a strong knowledge of T1D. Your dietician or nutritionist will help you understand carbohydrate counting, which will help you determine how my insulin to take. Once you have a good understanding of carb counting, there are some great apps out there to help you out even more.
I use BG Monitor which is an awesome tool to keep track of your blood sugars and food intake. Once you know what your bolus calculations are (your doc can help you figure this out), you will be able to set up the app to calculate how much insulin to take. Everyone is different, so don’t use the defaults, configure it to work best for you.
There are a couple other devices you should look at: the CGM (continuous glucose monitor) and the Insulin Pump.
The CGM is great, especially when you first get diagnosed. It will help become more confident with your blood sugars. Most CGMs take your sugar every 5 minutes. You can set a threshold for your highs and lows, and the machine will warn you if you are getting high or becoming low. This is especially great if you don’t feel your highs and/or lows. Here is the best known CGM here in Canada:
Insulin pumps are great if you hate taking your needles or if you forget your insulin. The pump, like the CGM, is placed under your skin and comes with a small machine which holds the insulin. You will still have to manually adjust the units, but only need to insert the “needle” once about every 3 days. This depends on the model you get, but you can find more information here:
More information can be found on the JDRF website. Don’t forget to talk to your doctor before following any instructions online. Your doctor knows you best!
I am not a medical professional and should not be taken as such. I am only speaking from personal experience. Talk to your doctor about any health concerns you may have regarding your diabetes.
Buy CGM, insulin pump stickers, and other diabetic accessories from Type W1N. There are so many designs to choose from for men, women, and children!