Diabetes Type 1

Places that diabetes is most prevalent

Biology of Type 1 Diabetes

Type 1 diabetes is usually diagnosed in children and young adults, and was previously known as juvenile diabetes. Only 5% of people with diabetes have this form of the disease.

In type 1 diabetes, the body does not produce insulin which regulates sugar in the blood. The body breaks down the sugars and starches you eat into a simple sugar called glucose, which it uses for energy. Insulin is a hormone that the body needs to get glucose from the bloodstream into the cells of the body. With the help of insulin therapy and other treatments, even young children can learn to manage their condition and live long, healthy lives.

Dietary Habits

Eating well is one of life's greatest pleasures. Having diabetes shouldn’t keep you from enjoying a wide variety of foods including some of your favorites. People with diabetes have the same nutritional needs as anyone else. Learn to plan your meals to help you manage your diabetes, and you can thrive with diabetes.

  • A good guideline for diabetics is to limit total carbohydrate consumption to 45-60 grams per meal (no more than 180 grams per day).
  • A good guideline for a diabetic plate of food would be ¼ protein, ¼ starch, ½ non starchy vegetables.
  • Daily the ratio of percentage of grams in the diet for a diabetic should be: 55:20:25 (carbs:fats:protein).
  • Nutrient dense carbohydrates are recommended: ex. Wheat instead of white bread, whole fruit not juice, etc. because fiber does not raise blood sugar.

Food Groups Diabetics Should Eat

  • Healthy fats from raw nuts, olive oil, fish oils, flax seeds, whole milk dairy, or avocados
  • Fruits and vegetables—ideally fresh, the more colorful the better; whole fruit rather than juices
  • High-fiber cereals and breads made from whole grains or legumes
  • Fish and shellfish, organic, free-range chicken or turkey
  • High-quality protein such as eggs, beans, milk, cheese, and unsweetened yogurt

A1C of diabetes

The A1C test is a blood test that provides information about a person’s average levels of blood glucose, also called blood sugar, over the past 3 months. The A1C test is sometimes called the hemoglobin A1c, HbA1c, or glycohemoglobin test. The A1C test is the primary test used for diabetes management and diabetes research.A normal A1C level is below 5.7 percent.The only way to get a complete picture of your blood sugar control is by reviewing your day-to-day self-checks along with your regular A1C tests, and working closely with your healthcare team to interpret the results.

Glycohemoglobin-glycated hemoglobin is a form of hemoglobin that is measured primarily to identify the three-month average plasma glucose concentration. The test is limited to a three-month average because the lifespan of a red blood cell is four months.


Many people with Type 1 diabetes also have difficulty in adjusting the level of glucagon (another hormone) in their bodies. This is particularly so if they have had Type 1 diabetes for more than 5-8 years. Glucagon is a hormone your body makes to help bring your blood glucose level back up when it is low. When you are starting out with a physical activity routine, start small and build up your fitness gradually. If you have been doing no physical activity, start with 5-10 minutes of moderate physical activity daily (like brisk walking), and build this up by 5 minutes every 3-4 days until you are doing 30 minutes daily. Always conduct physical activity within your comfort zone. If you are out of breath it’s best to slow down until you are comfortable again.

Personal Story

She maintains a positive attitude to life, and has learned to manage her condition by calculating the carbohydrates in her food and taking insulin."When I was diagnosed, my first thought was, 'Oh my God, why me?' I used to be terrified of injections, so that side of it completely scared me."I was self-conscious at first. I didn't want to inject myself in front of everyone. I thought it was going to be embarrassing and everyone at school would think I was injecting drugs in the middle of lunch."If I hadn't taken the medication, my blood sugars would have risen and I would have started to feel dizzy. If I'd continued not taking insulin, I would have got ill, probably thrown up and eventually I would have died."When you have type 1 diabetes, you have to calculate the carbohydrates in your meals. A piece of toast has 20g of carbohydrates, and I have one unit of insulin for every time I eat 20g of carbohydrates."It was a foreign idea. I hadn't ever considered food as something to be calculated. Sometimes school lunch can be a bit difficult because you don't really know what's in everything."It was tricky and I made mistakes at first. You have to expect that. However, you get into a pattern and everything becomes second nature."It definitely affects my sports. I have to check my blood sugars more frequently when I'm playing sport. I do quite like competitive sprinting, which is difficult because adrenaline in sport brings your blood sugars up rapidly."A few months after I was diagnosed, I moved on to the insulin pump. It was a good change for me. It definitely gives me a lot more flexibility. It's like a bigger injection, once every three days, and it pumps in insulin throughout the day."Sometimes I get little red spots on my body, which makes me self-conscious when I'm going to the beach. I don't really like to wear bikinis."It was definitely a bit of a nightmare at first, but if you approach diabetes with a positive attitude, it just becomes another part of who you are."Everyone can control diabetes. You just have to put in the effort. It's worth it, because when it's controlled, you feel you're just like everybody else."

Work Cited

Exercise Can Help Tame Type 2 Diabetes, Say New Guidelines. (n.d.). Retrieved December 05, 2016, from http://www.diabetes.org/newsroom/press-releases/2010/exercise-can-help-tame-type-2.html

Type 1 Diabetes. (n.d.). Retrieved December 05, 2016, from http://www.diabetes.org/diabetes-basics/type-1/

The Diabetes Diet. (n.d.). Retrieved December 05, 2016, from http://www.helpguide.org/articles/diet-weight-loss/diabetes-diet-and-food-tips.htm

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