Life of a Type 1 Diabetic Celine corkill

What it means to be a Type 1 Diabetic

Being a type 1 Diabetic means that there are destroyed pancreatic cells that can not produce insulin, which is what your body needs.Insulin is needed in the body in order to get glucose(sugar) in your cells, which gives you energy. Type 1 Diabetes is when the body's immune system destroys beta cells in the pancreas, which is called the islet tissue.

Dietary Guideline for a Type 1 Diabetic

  • Fruits; Fruits are natural sources of sugar and should be counted as carbohydrates if you’re using a diet plan. Choose fresh or frozen, and opt for citrus fruits such as oranges and grapefruit when possible.
  • Vegetables; Starch is a form of sugar that naturally occurs in many common vegetables, such as potatoes, corn, and peas. Starchy vegetables aren’t bad, but they contain more carbohydrates than other vegetables and should be eaten sparingly.
  • Whole grains; Your body will convert whole grains into sugar, but at least they’ll be packing nutrition and extra fiber. Brown rice, bran cereal, and whole grain breads are great sources of whole grains.
  • A good guideline for diabetics is to limit total carbohydrate consumption to 45-60 grams per meal, which is 180 grams per day.
  • A good guideline for a diabetic plate of food would be ¼ protein, ¼ starch, ½ non starchy vegetables.

Lifestyle for a Type 1 Diabetic

  • When you are recommended medications, you should take them so you remain healthy.
  • Pay attention to your feet; Since your feet are farthest from your heart you can have a lack of blood sugar which can cause amputation. If you have cuts or sores that don't heal properly, it is recommend for you to go see a doctor.
  • Take your stress seriously; your hormones can prevent your body from getting insulin properly.
  • Keep blood pressure and cholesterol under control; exercising and keeping a healthy diet can help.
  • Keep your immunizations up to date; High blood sugar can mess with your immune system, which makes you more likely to get sick.
  • Exercise; exercise is an absolutely vital part of type 1 diabetes treatment. Staying fit and active throughout your life has many benefits, but the biggest one for people with diabetes is that it helps you control diabetes and prevent long-term complications. Make sure you check your glucose before and after you exercise.

How to monitor blood sugar

A Glucometer is something you use to test your blood sugar before and after you eat/EXERCISE. Your blood sugar before a meal should be under 100 mg/dl, and your blood sugar after a meal should be no higher than 200 mg/dl.In order to manage glucose levels you SHOULD; take insulin daily, eat a healthy, balanced diet and stick to a diabetes meal plan, check your blood sugar levels several times a day, and get regular physical activity. An a1c is something doctors use to diagnose diabetes over a 3 month period.For most people who have previously diagnosed diabetes, an A1C level of 7 percent or less is a common treatment target. Higher targets of up to 8 percent may be appropriate for some individuals. If your A1C level is above your target, your doctor may recommend a change in your diabetes treatment plan.

Personal Story

Jack Fitzpatrick

AFL player, living with type 1 diabetes

Jack Fitzpatrick is living proof that you can achieve anything you want when living with diabetes. The 24-year old forward/ruckman for the Melbourne Football Club was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in June 2012, two weeks shy of his 21st birthday.

The two metre tall man dubbed ‘The Fitz’ made his AFL debut in 2011. He believes that living with type 1 diabetes is an “interesting challenge” but that the right attitude and, in his case, playing footy help to lead a normal life.

"It gives you something to look forward to and you don't wallow in self-pity,” says the Demons player. He checks his blood glucose levels during every game at quarter time and half time, making sure he doesn’t develop hypoglycaemia (‘hypo’, caused by low blood glucose levels). If left untreated, hypoglycaemia can lead to serious medical problems including loss of consciousness, convulsions or seizures requiring emergency treatment.

He often involves his trainers in his diabetes management and jokes that they help keeping him alive. Since changing to a low carb/high fat diet and after a period of adaption, he was able to reduce his insulin intake. He now only injects long-acting insulin at night, instead of having needles at every meal. This has given him greater flexibility in his diabetes management whilst being able to train fully at high intensity, without losing strength.

Jack is well aware of being a role-model for young people living with diabetes. “I really enjoy being able to tell them about my story and that with careful management, they will be able to live a completely normal life,” says Jack.

Similar to how professional athletes with diabetes, like Jack, work with a team of coaches, dieticians and exercise experts to achieve certain results, we encourage all people with diabetes to see an Accredited Practising Dietitian in conjunction with their diabetes team for individualised advice. The needs of each individual with diabetes are different. Read our position statement 'one diet does not fit all'.

Work Cited

  • "Living With Type 1 Diabetes." American Diabetes Association. N.p., n.d. Web. 01 Dec. 2016.
  • @healthline. "Type 1 Diabetes Diet." Healthline. N.p., n.d. Web. 01 Dec. 2016.
  • Mayo Clinic Staff Print. "A1C Test." Results - A1C Test
  • "Type 1 Diabetes." American Diabetes Association. N.p., n.d. Web. 06 Dec. 2016.


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