Type 1 Diabetes: Living With the Disease (cont.)
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Type 1 diabetes requires daily attention to diet, exercise, and insulin. You may have times when this job feels overwhelming, but taking good care of yourself will help you will feel better, have a better quality of life, and prevent or delay complications from diabetes.
Eat well and count carbohydrate grams
Follow one of these meal-planning methods to help you eat a healthful diet and spread carbohydrate through the day. This will help prevent high blood sugar levels after meals. For more information, see:
Focus on the type of carbohydrate as well as the amount. This might help you stay at your target blood sugar level. Foods with a low glycemic index (GI) may help prevent spikes in blood sugar. It is not yet known if these foods help prevent complications. Low glycemic foods do not raise blood sugar as quickly as high glycemic foods. Foods with a low GI include high-fiber whole grains, lentils, and beans. High GI foods include potatoes and white bread.
Using fat replacers—nonfat substances that act like fat in a food—may seem like a good idea, but talk with a registered dietitian before you do. Some people may eat more food, and therefore more calories, if they know a food contains a fat replacer.
Make sure you know how to give yourself insulin.
Try to do at least 2½ hours a week of moderate activity. One way to do this is to be active 30 minutes a day, at least 5 days a week. Be sure to exercise safely. Drink plenty of water before, during, and after you are active. This is very important when it's hot out and when you do intense exercise. It may help to keep track of your exercise on an activity log(What is a PDF document?).
Monitor your blood sugar
Checking your blood sugar level is a major part of controlling your blood sugar level and keeping it in a target range you set with your doctor. For more information, see the topic Continuous Glucose Monitoring or see:
Handle high and low blood sugar levels
Be sure you:
Control your blood pressure and cholesterol
Limit your alcohol intake to no more than 2 drinks a day for men and 1 drink a day for women (none if you are pregnant). Discuss with your doctor whether you should drink alcohol.
Ask if a daily aspirin is right for you
Talk to your doctor about whether you should take low-dose aspirin. Daily low-dose aspirin (81 milligrams) may help prevent heart problems if you are at risk for heart attack or stroke. People with diabetes are 2 to 4 times more likely than people who don't have diabetes to die from heart and blood vessel diseases.5
Deal with your feelings
A chronic illness creates major change in your life. You may need to grieve the loss of your earlier life from time to time. Also, you may feel resentful, deprived, or angry about having to pay attention to what and how much you eat. For more information, see:
Protect your feet
Daily foot care can prevent serious problems. Foot problems caused by diabetes are the most common cause of amputations. For more information, see:
Learn more about diabetes
Diabetes is a complex disease and there is a lot to learn, such as:
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