By: Dr. Muhammad Khawar Saeed
Once you come to know that you have type 1 diabetes, initially it is a shocking news. But you can get over it pretty soon if you know exactly what to do. Following simple steps to modify your life style can do wonders to control your diabetes.
1. Medicine: As pancreas is not making insulin in type 1 diabetes.The only medicine for type 1 diabetes is insulin injection. Do not waste your time in trying different allopathic, homeopathic and herbal medicines as this is only waste of time and resources.
2. Diet plan: Type 1 diabetics should eat a well-balanced healthy diet rich in protein, vitamins and minerals, low in saturated fat and carbohydrates. They should take frequent small meals 5-6 times a day to prevent hypoglycemia (low blood sugar). Total calories should be 1500-200 calories depending on age, height and physical activity of the patient. Diet chart is available in food and fitness section of this website.
3. Exercise: Physical activity is one of the keystones of good diabetes management. Moderate exercise 30 min/day 5 days a week is recommended for all diabetics. Walk, aerobics, swimming, bike riding are few examples of exercise. Type 1 diabetic children should remain very active in sports to keep their blood sugar under control. During or after exercise blood sugar tends to fall down and patients should take a snack or fruit juice to avoid hypoglycemia.
4. Glucose monitoring: Regular glucose monitoring with a glucometer is required atleast 4 times a day. It is better to check blood sugar before and 2 hours after each meal so that dose of insulin can be adjusted accordingly. Apart from this, you will need to check blood glucose at any time when you experience symptoms of hypoglycemia ( trembling, sweating, blurred vision, drowsiness) and take extra carbohydrates to correct it.
Emotional support: A very important step in diabetes management is emotional support to get over the initial denial and grief period and later continuous support to stay motivated with the daily goal of checking blood glucose, counting calories and calculating insulin dose. Both the patient and parents require emotional support for effective stress relief. Our competent diabetes educators and counselors are doing a wonderful job in providing emotional support to diabetic families. Joining a diabetic patient’s group is equally helpful in encouraging and supporting patients.