TREATMENT AND PREVENTION OF TYPE 1 DIABETES

Once a patient is diagnosed with type 1 diabetes, the treatment goal aims at keeping the blood sugar level as close to the normal values as possible with a view to delay or prevent complications. Usually, the goal is to maintain the morning blood sugar levels between 80 and 130 mg/dl prior to meals and the blood sugar levels 2 hours after eating <180 mg/dl.

TREATMENT OF TYPE 1 DIABETES

As far as the treatment of a patient with type 1 diabetes is concerned, he/she will need lifelong insulin therapy.

Insulin is available for use in the following forms depending upon the time duration for which they act:

  • Rapid-acting insulin
  • Short-acting (regular) insulin
  • Intermediate-acting insulin
  • Long-acting insulin

Unfortunately, this insulin cannot be taken in an oral form since the enzymes of the stomach would break it down, thereby preventing its action. Therefore, you require either an injection or an insulin pump for the administration of insulin.

Insulin injections/pens

  • For administration of insulin under the skin, you can either use a fine needle and syringe or an insulin pen. Depending upon the doctor’s advice, an individual may have to take multiple daily injections involving a combination of a long-acting insulin and rapid-acting insulin. Such a usage of insulin closely mimics the body's normal use of insulin. In fact, research has shown that a regimen of three or more insulin injections daily can improve blood sugar levels. Insulin pens resemble ink pens and are available both in reusable and disposable varieties.

Insulin pumps

  • Insulin pumps are programmed devices, of the size of a cell phone, placed close to the body and known to administer specific quantities of rapid-acting insulin automatically. The insulin pump can be worn as a waistband or a specially designed pump belt.

It is known to provide a (bolus) dose of insulin that not only covers your meal but also rectifies your elevated blood sugar. If a continuous glucose monitoring device is used in conjunction with the insulin pump, an individual can expect an optimum control of blood sugar.

Unfortunately, there is no proven way to prevent type 1 diabetes. However, researchers are trying their best to find means of preventing the disease or further destruction of the insulin-producing cells of the pancreas in people who are newly diagnosed with type 1 diabetes.

In spite of taking insulin and maintaining a healthy lifestyle, blood sugar levels can fluctuate with changes in response to illness, medications, activity, stress, food, alcohol, and hormonal changes. The American Diabetes Association recommends that you may need to check and record your blood sugar level at least four times a day, namely before food, before retiring to bed, before exercising or driving, and in case you feel you have low blood sugar.

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