Professional Treatment for Type 1 Diabetes:
The treatment approach for individuals with type 1 diabetes consists of various components aimed at achieving optimal blood sugar control and minimizing the risk of complications. These include:
1. Insulin Therapy: Individuals with type 1 diabetes require lifelong insulin therapy. There are different types of insulin available, such as short-acting, rapid-acting, intermediate-acting, and long-acting insulin. A combination of long-acting and rapid-acting insulin is commonly used to mimic the body’s natural insulin production. Multiple daily injections or the use of an insulin pump may be necessary.
2. Blood Sugar Monitoring: Regular monitoring of blood sugar levels is crucial in diabetes management. Testing blood sugar levels multiple times a day is recommended, including before meals, snacks, bedtime, exercise, and when experiencing symptoms of low blood sugar. Continuous glucose monitoring (CGM) systems can provide real-time blood sugar readings, offering additional insight into glucose fluctuations.
3. Carbohydrate Counting: Individuals with type 1 diabetes are encouraged to count the carbohydrates they consume. This helps determine the appropriate insulin dose needed to manage blood sugar levels effectively. Consulting with a registered dietitian can provide guidance on creating a personalized meal plan.
4. Healthy Eating: A balanced and nutritious diet is essential for individuals with type 1 diabetes. Emphasizing fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and low-fat, high-fiber foods is recommended. Limiting animal products and refined carbohydrates is advised. Following a healthy eating plan benefits both blood sugar control and overall health.
5. Regular Exercise: Engaging in regular aerobic exercise is beneficial for individuals with type 1 diabetes. Consultation with a healthcare provider is important before starting an exercise regimen. Aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic exercise per week. Blood sugar levels should be monitored closely during and after exercise, as physical activity can affect glucose levels.
6. Insulin Delivery Options: Insulin can be administered through injections or by using an insulin pump. Injections involve the use of a fine needle and syringe or an insulin pen, while an insulin pump delivers insulin continuously through a small device worn externally. Both options have their advantages and should be discussed with a healthcare provider to determine the most suitable method.
7. Medications for Associated Conditions: Depending on individual circumstances, additional medications may be prescribed to manage conditions commonly associated with type 1 diabetes. These may include blood pressure medications (e.g., ACE inhibitors or ARBs), aspirin for cardiovascular protection, and cholesterol-lowering drugs to manage lipid levels.
8. Continuous Glucose Monitoring (CGM): CGM systems provide continuous monitoring of blood sugar levels, allowing for more precise diabetes management. They involve the attachment of a sensor beneath the skin, which measures glucose levels at regular intervals. CGM systems can help identify patterns, trends, and fluctuations in blood sugar levels, contributing to better treatment adjustments.
9. Closed Loop System: Closed loop systems, also known as hybrid closed loop systems, combine continuous glucose monitoring with an insulin pump. These systems automatically adjust insulin delivery based on the CGM readings, helping maintain optimal blood sugar control. However, they still require some user input, such as carbohydrate intake and confirmation of blood sugar levels.
10. Future Treatment Options: Ongoing research explores potential future treatments for type 1 diabetes, such as pancreas transplants and islet cell transplantation. These procedures aim to restore insulin production and reduce the reliance on exogenous insulin. However, these treatments are currently reserved for specific cases and are associated with significant risks.
11. Managing Hypoglycemia and Hyperglycemia: Hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) and hyperglycemia (high blood sugar) are common complications in type 1 diabetes.
Watch for: Frequent urination Increased thirst Blurred vision Fatigue Headache Irritability If you think you have hyperglycemia, check your blood sugar. If it is higher than your target range, you’ll likely need to administer a “correction.” A correction is an additional dose of insulin given to bring your blood sugar back to normal. High blood sugar levels don’t come down as quickly as they go up. Ask your provider how long to wait until you recheck. If you use an insulin pump, random high blood sugar readings may mean you need to change the place where you put the pump on your body. If you have a blood sugar reading above 240 mg/dL (13.3 mmol/L), test for ketones using a urine test stick. Don’t exercise if your blood sugar level is above 240 mg/dL or if ketones are present. If only a trace or small amounts of ketones are present, drink extra noncalorie fluids to flush out the ketones. If your blood sugar is persistently above 300 mg/dL (16.7 mmol/L), or if your urine ketones stays high in spite of taking correction doses of insulin, call your provider or seek emergency care. Increased ketones in your urine (diabetic ketoacidosis) If your cells are starved for energy, the body may begin to break down fat. This produces toxic acids known as ketones. Diabetic ketoacidosis is a life-threatening emergency. Symptoms of this serious condition include: Nausea Vomiting Abdominal pain A sweet, fruity smell on your breath Shortness of breath Dry mouth Weakness Confusion Coma
Dr. Mangaiyarkkarasi Sivakumar, an Endocrinology specialist, offers diabetes treatment to residents in Kendall Park, Monmouth Junction, Helmetta, East Brunswick, Monroe Township, South Brunswick Township, Dayton, and other areas of New Jersey.