Treatments for type 1 diabetes include taking insulin, counting dietary carbohydrates, monitoring blood sugar, eating healthy foods and keeping a healthy weight through exercise. The goal is to keep daytime blood sugar between 70 and 130 mg/dL before meals and under 180 mg/dL two hours after mealtime, notes Mayo Clinic.
As long as blood sugar levels can stay between the levels listed above, type 1 diabetics can maintain a relatively high quality of life. However, managing those levels can be challenging. People with type 1 diabetes always need insulin therapy. Some people are able to control sugar levels with almost no insulin right after diagnosis, but this does not last. Because stomach enzymes interfere with insulin, diabetics have to take it as an injection or through an insulin pump. Injections require manual action, while pumps are programmed to dispense insulin automatically at pre-set intervals, as stated by Mayo Clinic.
Most type 1 diabetics need to check their blood sugar levels at least four times per day. The American Diabetes Association recommends testing levels before exercising, eating, driving and going to bed, as well as any other times when the patient feels like sugar may be low. While there is no pre-set "diabetes diet," people who focus on vegetables, fruits and whole grains and limit animal protein sources and refined sugars, as in sugary treats and white bread, have an easier time managing diabetes. A minimum of 30 minutes of aerobic exercise at least four days a week (60 minutes or more in children) helps to manage sugar levels as well, according to Mayo Clinic