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Thursday, October 16, 2014

Type 1 Diabetes

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    Always consult with a doctor before starting your treatment plan. Type 1 diabetes, also called juvenile diabetes, is a chronic disease, which, despite its name, can affect people at any age. This type of diabetes can occur suddenly and without warning. Its symptoms, if untreated, can be severe and even life-threatening. Because of this, it's important to rely on the advice of a qualified doctor or specialist when deciding on a plan to fight your diabetes. The content in this article refers only to general cases and is not intended to replace the opinion of an actual doctor.
    • Though neither Type 1 nor Type 2 diabetes can be completely cured, with a lifelong commitment to your treatment plan, these diseases can be managed to the point that you will be able to live a normal life. The sooner you begin this treatment plan after you develop diabetes, the better. If you think you may have diabetes, don't delay in seeing a doctor. Because the initial symptoms of Type 1 diabetes can be severe, it is not uncommon for you to have to stay in the hospital for a short time after your diagnosis.[1]

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    Take insulin every day. The bodies of people with Type 1 diabetes cannot make insulin, a chemical compound used to break down sugar (glucose) in the bloodstream. Without insulin, the symptoms of Type 1 diabetes will rapidly worsen and eventually cause death. To be clear: Type 1 diabetics need to take insulin every day or they will die.[2] Your precise daily insulin dosages will vary based on your size, diet, activity level, and genetics, which is why it is so important to see a doctor to get a thorough evaluation before beginning your diabetes treatment plan. Insulin is generally available in several different varieties, each of which is formulated for specific purposes. These are:[3]
    • "Mealtime" (bolus) insulin: Rapid-acting insulin. Usually taken right before a meal to prevent elevated blood glucose levels after eating.
    • Basal insulin: Slower-acting insulin. Usually taken between meals once or twice a day to control "resting" blood glucose levels.
    • Pre-mixed insulin: A combination of bolus and basal insulin. Can be be taken before breakfast and dinner in order to keep blood glucose levels low after meals as well as throughout the day.
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    Exercise. In general, people with diabetes should strive to be physically fit. Physical exercise has the effect of lowering the body's glucose levels - sometimes for as long as 24 hours.[4] Because the most harmful effects of diabetes are caused by elevated glucose levels, exercise is a valuable tool that allows diabetics to keep glucose at manageable levels. In addition, exercise also provides the same benefits to diabetics that it does to non-diabetics - namely, greater overall fitness, weight loss, higher strength and endurance, higher energy levels, elevated mood, and more.
    • Diabetes resources generally recommend exercising at least several times per week. Most resources recommend a healthy mix of cardio, strength training, and balance/flexibility exercises. See How to Exercise for more information.
    • Though low, manageable glucose levels are generally a good thing for diabetics, exercising while you have low blood sugar levels can lead to a condition called hypoglycemia, in which the body doesn't have enough blood sugar to fuel its vital processes and the exercising muscles. Hypoglycemia can lead to dizziness, weakness, and fainting. To counter glycemia, carry a sugary, quick-acting carbohydrate like soda or a sports drink with you while you exercise.[5]
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    Minimize stress. Whether the cause is physical or mental, stress is known to cause blood sugar levels to fluctuate.[6] Constant or prolonged stress can cause blood sugar levels to rise in the long term, which means you may need to use more medication or exercise more frequently to say healthy. Generally, the best cure for stress is a preventative one - avoid stress in the first place by exercising frequently, getting enough sleep, avoiding stressful situations when possible, and talking about your problems before they become serious.
    • Other stress management techniques include seeing a therapist, practicing meditation techniques, eliminating caffeine from your diet, and pursuing healthy hobbies. See How to Deal With Stress for more information.
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    Avoid getting sick. As both an actual physical ailment and as an indirect source of stress, illness can cause your blood sugars to fluctuate. Prolonged or serious illness can even necessitate changes in the way you take your diabetes medication or the diet and exercise routines you'll need to keep. Though the best policy when it comes to sicknesses is to avoid them by living a life that is as healthy, happy, and stress-free as possible, if and when you do come down with an illness, be sure to give yourself the rest and medicine that you need to get better as quickly as possible.
    • If you have the common cold, try drinking plenty of fluids, taking over-the-counter cold medications (but avoid sugary cough syrups), and getting plenty of rest. Since having the cold can ruin your appetite, you'll want to be sure to eat roughly 15 grams of carbohydrates every hour or so.[7] Though having a cold usually elevates your blood sugar levels, refraining from eating as may feel natural can cause your blood sugar to fall dangerously low.
    • Serious illnesses always require the advice of a doctor, but managing serious diseases in patients with diabetes can require special medicines and techniques. If you are diabetic and you think you may have a disease that is more serious than an ordinary cold, see your doctor right away.
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    Modify your diabetes plans to account for menstruation and menopause.Diabetic women have unique challenges when it comes to managing blood sugar during their periods and menopause. Though diabetes effects every woman differently, many women report having elevated blood sugar levels in the days before their periods, which can require using more insulin or changing your diet and exercise habits to compensate.[8] However, your blood sugar levels during your menstrual cycle may be different, so talk to your doctor or gynecologist for specific guidance.
    • Additionally, menopause can change the way that the body's blood sugar level fluctuates. Many women report that their glucose levels become more unpredictable during menopause.[9] Menopause can also lead to weight gain, sleep loss, and temporary vaginal ailments, which can increase the body's levels of stress hormones and elevate glucose levels.[10] If you are diabetic and are going through menopause, talk to your doctor to find a treatment plan that's right for you.
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    Schedule regular check-ups with your doctor. Right after you are diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes, it is likely that you will need to meet with your doctor regularly (as much as once a week or more) to get a sense for how to best control your blood glucose levels. It can take a few weeks to develop an insulin therapy regimen that perfectly matches your diet and activity level. Once your diabetes treatment routine is established, you won't need to meet with your doctor quite as often. However, you should plan on maintaining a good relationship with your doctor, which means scheduling semi-regular follow-up appointments. Your doctor is the person who is best-suited to detecting discrepancies in your blood glucose levels before they become serious and are valuable resources when you need to manage your diabetes during times of stress, sickness, pregnancy, and so on.
    • Generally, as a Type 1 diabetic, once your routine is established, you should expect to see your doctor once every 3 - 6 months

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