Being diagnosed with type 1 diabetes does change your life. Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease that causes the pancreas to stop producing insulin, a hormone that is necessary to convert food into energy. Suddenly, you're exposed to a whole new world—one that likely includes changing your diet (you may never look at carbs the same way again), taking new medications and learning about insulin and how to administer it to your body. Monitoring your blood glucose levels will eventually become second nature but the idea may seem scary at first.
It may help to remember that you are not alone. According to the Joslin Diabetes Foundation, 1.25 million Americans are living with type 1 diabetes--including about 200,000 youth (less than 20 years old) and over a million adults (20 years old and older). With support from your family, friends and healthcare team, you can learn how to cope with diabetes in your everyday life. We're here to help, too. We'll show you simple ways to manage your diabetes, including common treatments and the information you need to stay up-to-date on your condition. We also have the resources, expert advice, delicious recipes and personal stories of inspiration to cheer you on.
Unfortunately, there is no cure for type 1 diabetes. You should know that your diabetes will be largely managed by you and that can feel lonely. But your diabetes treatment team, which may include a primary care physician, endocrinologist, dietitian, and certified diabetes educator, will be there to support you every step of the way
Add a few key tools, such as educating yourself about your condition and adopting a can-do attitude, and you'll be well prepared to handle whatever comes your way. So be kind to yourself. It's a lot to absorb at first but it will get easier.
Experts still don't know what causes type 1 diabetes but it's most likely the result of genetics or environmental triggers including viruses. The only treatment is to replace the insulin your body no longer produces.
Some people wear an insulin pump that delivers a steady drip of insulin 24/7 into the body and larger amounts when you eat. Others administer daily injections to keep the body balanced. Food--especially carbohydrates--can significantly raise your blood sugar; insulin brings it back down. Constant monitoring and awarenss of your blood glucose levels is important.
Managing Type 1 Diabetes
When you have type 1 diabetes, you'll learn that everything you do impacts your blood glucose levels—what you eat, when you eat, whether you exercise, and the amount of stress in your life, for example. The right balance of nutrition and exercise matters. When you are successful in acheiving the balance, you'll see that anything is possible. There are professional athletes, celebrities and other high achievers living with the challenges of type 1 diabetes--just like you. Research has shown that closely monitoring blood sugar is the best way to manage your diabetes and improves your quality of life. We'll help you find easy ways to make it work for you.
Don't forget your diabetes treatment team can help you deal with your chronic condition but it's the emotional support from your family members and friends that truly makes the difference. They'll provide the encouragement you need to stay on track. You can handle this. You can live well with diabetes.