A Day in the Life of a Diabetic! :) Rachel B, Cindy S, Gabi W

The Biology of Type 1 Diabetes

Type 1 diabetes is usually diagnosed in children and young adults. With type 1 diabetes your body does not produce enough insulin to break down glucose found in the food you eat. It is an autoimmune disease, and can be genetic.

To determine if someone had diabetes, they go through Glucose Tolerance Testing. A patient is given a sugary drink and if their blood glucose goes back to homeostasis in a timely fashion then they don't have diabetes; but if their blood glucose level remains the same then their body cannot produce insulin and they have type 1 Diabetes.

Diabetic Diet

One who has diabetes should have a well balanced diet richly consisting of essential nutrients and low in calories and unhealthy fats. Vegetables and a limitation of fruit along with whole grains and proteins are highly recommended. The key element for diabetics is to limit your intake of sugar and switch to a healthier lifestyle.

(An example of a diet for a diabetic ) Breakfast: 2 egg whites, scrambled , no butter Lunch: Salad with balsamic vinegar, cherry tomatoes, carrots Dinner: 8oz Steak with sauteed mushrooms, 1 cup broccoli, 1/2 cup green beans no butter Snacks: low-fat yogurt and granola bar, dark chocolate bar

Blood Sugar Monitoring and Adjustment

Insulin lowers blood sugar by allowing it to leave the blood stream and into the cells, so, because type 1 diabetics cannot produce insulin they have to take insulin daily. It is a good idea to check your blood sugar level daily and writing it down allows you to know how well you are managing your diabetes. The most well known method of blood monitoring is pricking your finger with a small needle called a lancet to get a tiny drop of blood for analysis. You then place the small drop of blood into a test strip and put the test strip into the glucose meter. After time, the diabetic will learn which foods affect their blood sugar in what ways and this helps them adjust their insulin doses to specific meals and activities to prevent blood sugar levels from becoming to high/low.

Recommendations for excercise and lifestyle

Exercising regularly helps your body to respond to insulin and can reduce the amount of medication you need. Exercising also improves your circulation in your arms and legs, which is where diabetics tend to have problems. It is fine to exercise at a low or moderate pace, 10000 steps a day is ideal. If you walk after eating a meal it helps moderate your blood glucose level. Other recommendations for a healthier lifestyle include going to regular check-up and to avoid smoking and drinking alcohol.

Who Can Assist?

Nutritionist/Dietitian: assess a patient's health and diet. One with diabetes can get help from a nutritionist or dietitian to set up a meal plan or learn to count calories.

Endocrinologist: are specialized medical doctors that help with the treatment or research of disorders that affect the endocrine system. Endocrinologist are typically the ones that diagnose diabetes and help out with the necessary treatment.

Ophthalmologist: deals with the anatomy, physiology and surgery of diseases with the eye. Some diabetics have problems with their vision. An ophthalmologist can run tests to identify and offer treatment for such eye problems.


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