Type 1 Diabetes FAQs

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Common questions about type 1 diabetes:

  • Do I need to take insulin for the rest of my life?
  • Will exercise help control my diabetes?
  • Can I stop taking insulin if I eliminate candy and cookies from my diet?

Do I need to take insulin for the rest of my life?

Yes. People with type 1 diabetes are not making enough insulin from their own bodies. Most people inject insulin at least four times a day. However, the insulin pump, or a continuous subcutaneous insulin infusion (CSII), is slowly replacing frequent injections as a preferred delivery system. With the pump, a new catheter is inserted every few days under the skin, and insulin is continuously infused into the body. The pump is not the final word in insulin delivery systems, and there are clinical trials underway testing both a patch and a nasal spray as possible insulin delivery systems.

Will exercise help control my diabetes?

In general, exercise can be beneficial in the management of type 1 diabetes, in addition to taking insulin and eating a healthy diet. To exercise safely and reduce the risks, always consult with your doctor about exercise guidelines.

Can I stop taking insulin if I eliminate candy and cookies from my diet?

Even if you eliminate concentrated sources of carbohydrates (foods that turn into sugar in your bloodstream) like candy and cookies, you always need to take insulin when you have type 1 diabetes. Check with your doctor about any insulin dose adjustments that may be required if you change your diet.

Do I need to monitor my blood sugar even when I’m feeling fine?

Feeling fine is no guarantee that your blood sugar levels are in the target range. Remember, symptoms do not appear right away. Without regular blood sugar monitoring, serious damage can happen to your eyes, kidneys, feet – even your brain – without your knowing. If your sugar levels are out of line, consult your doctor.

I have type 1 diabetes. Are my children at risk?

Yes, but the risk is low. Although type 1 diabetes is a genetic disease, only about 3% to 6% of children of type 1 diabetics will develop diabetes. The risk varies with age, gender and other factors relating to the parent with diabetes. You can learn more about these odds by having your children undergo certain genetic tests.

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