Whether you’re newly diagnosed, a seasoned blood sugar buff, or a relative of someone with diabetes, there’s always room to learn.
At Hedia, managing diabetes is what we’re all about. We’re more than happy to impart some knowledge on how to manage type 1 diabetes. So, let’s get straight to it and begin at the beginning!
How type 1 Diabetes works
To know how to manage type 1 diabetes, we must first know how the condition works. In basic terms, type 1 diabetes is where the pancreas completely or partially stops producing insulin.
Insulin is important because it lowers blood sugar levels. More specifically, it is a hormone that allows the glucose that’s in the blood (informally named blood sugar) to enter the cells. This is when the glucose can be used by the body.
This is a part of the digestive system. We eat food, and many of the carbohydrates from that food become glucose in the blood. The glucose should then be ‘digested’ by entering the cells.
But, for people with type 1 diabetes, there is little or no insulin to help that part of digestion. Instead, the glucose remains in the blood; this can be dangerous if blood sugar levels become too high.
When the blood sugar is too high, it is termed hyperglycemia. Hyperglycemia puts a strain on the body, such as the blood vessels. If left untreated, it can lead to comas in the short-term and cardiovascular and neural problems in the long-term.
Symptoms of high blood glucose/sugar can include:
– Being excessively thirsty
– Sweet-smelling breath
– Losing weight without trying
– Blurred vision
– Frequent urination
How to Manage type 1 Diabetes: Treatment
Treatment for diabetes primarily revolves around treating either high or low blood sugar. So, here we go.
Hyperglycemia/High Blood Sugar
The solution to having no insulin and having high blood sugar is a pretty straightforward idea: inject insulin.
Since eating or drinking carbs raises blood sugar, a person with diabetes should counteract those carbs by injecting insulin. That injected insulin will lower the blood sugar.
This means that you need to know how much insulin will displace a certain amount of carbs. These numbers are individual; a person’s numbers are usually established with the help of a doctor.
Find out more about those calculations by reading the blog post by Christina, the co-founder of Hedia and a nurse with experience with diabetes: Blood Sugar After Eating.
This is where the treatment becomes a little less straightforward. Those with diabetes need to figure out how many carbs in food they’re eating. Plus, other factors affect blood sugar levels, like exercise, and how long it’s been since last injecting.
Accordingly, a person with diabetes should keep an eye on what their blood sugar levels are in order to know how much to inject.
This is often done with a blood glucose monitor, which involves pricking the finger to get a drop of blood, which the monitor will then analyse.
The World Health Organization defines blood sugar that’s too high as being above 7.0 mmol/L or 126 mg/dL when not eating. Or, if two hours after eating, the blood sugar is too high when it’s above 11.1mmol/L or 200 mg/dL. So, those with diabetes usually need to make sure they are below those numbers.
Hypoglycemia/Low Blood Sugar
If injecting too much insulin (or if the body becomes more sensitive to insulin), the blood sugar can go too low. This is called hypoglycemia.
Symptoms of hypoglycemia can include:
– Low energy
To treat this, the blood sugar will need to be raised again. This is done by consuming carbs. How many carbs need to be taken depends on each person, and whether they are going to eat a meal soon.
How to make it Easier
So, there’s a combination of things to consider when managing diabetes: testing blood sugar, knowing the amount of carbs you will consume (often by weighing food), keeping track of exercise, and injecting the right amount of insulin based on that.
That’s why Hedia was created. Hedia is here to assist diabetes management every step of the way. It’s our job to make things easier by working it out for you to give you a recommended insulin dose or carb intake.
All you need to do is enter information into Hedia. First, enter your blood glucose level – which can also be done wirelessly with NFC or Bluetooth Glucose Meters. (With GlucoMen Areo, Areo2k or CONTOUR® NEXT ONE. Additionally, Beurer GL50 evo and NovoPen Echo are in development.)
Second, enter your carbs. You can find out the amount of carbs in your meal more easily by using Hedia’s food database, containing over 1500 food items.
Then, tell Hedia if you’ve done any recent exercise – or if you’re about to exercise – and if you’ve taken insulin in the last 4 hours.
And hey presto! You’ve got a recommendation for how much insulin to take or how many carbs you need.
How to Manage type 1 Diabetes and life
Type 1 diabetes is basically about getting a stable blood sugar level. But life with diabetes is much more than that.
Diabetes varies from person to person. There are many different factors that can influence a person’s blood sugar. In turn, diabetes can influence how a person feels and acts in many different ways.
There is no one-size-fits-all approach to managing diabetes; it’s a matter of figuring out what works best for you.
Fortunately, Hedia’s blog has different areas of life with diabetes covered, such as exercise (Does Exercise Lower Blood Sugar?), sleep (Diabetes and Sleep), alcohol, (Diabetes and Alcohol), and more!
So, stick with us as we continue to write more about life and diabetes; we’re with you all of the way.
Related post: How to Reduce Blood Sugar Level Immediately