Treatment Options for Type 1 Diabetes
MEDICAL ANIMATION TRANSCRIPT: If you have type 1 diabetes, your goal is to keep your blood glucose or sugar within a normal range. Your healthcare practitioner may suggest a combination of insulin therapy, other medicines, glucose tablets to quickly raise your blood sugar if it gets too low, checking your blood sugar, eating a healthy diet, and getting regular exercise. In type 1 diabetes, your pancreas doesn't make enough or any insulin. Since you need insulin to stay alive, you will need to take it every day. It will replace what your body should be making. A healthcare practitioner can train you to inject the insulin just under the skin. You may need to give yourself injections several times each day, and you will need to rotate between injection sites. This helps avoid damage to your tissues and helps make sure you get the best results from your insulin. Another way to get insulin when you need it is through an automated insulin delivery system, also known as an artificial pancreas. It mirrors the way a healthy pancreas controls your blood sugar. This system is made up of three parts: a sensor called a continuous glucose monitor or CGM placed under your skin and held in place with a sticky patch, a program that calculates how much insulin you need, and an insulin pump. There are different types of insulin pumps. A traditional pump is commonly worn on your belt or in a pocket. With this type of pump, the CGM measures your blood sugar level and sends this information to the program located on your pump. The program calculates the amount of insulin you need. Then, insulin flows through a small tube leading from the pump into your body. Another type of pump called a patch pump is attached directly to your skin. It has a short tube underneath that delivers insulin into your body. With this type of pump, the CGM sends your blood sugar level information to a program on your smart phone or other wireless controller. The program calculates the amount of insulin you need, then signals the pump to send insulin into your body. With either pump, this process repeats automatically throughout the day to keep your blood sugar in the target range. Your pancreas may not be making enough of a chemical called amylin. Normally, amylin helps control your blood sugar level by reducing the amount of sugar your liver makes during a meal. It also slows the movement of food through your stomach so your body doesn't take it in as fast. If insulin alone isn't controlling your diabetes, you may also receive amylin medication. How much medication you need will depend on the level of sugar in your blood. You will need to check the level of sugar in your blood with a blood glucose meter. It's important to check your blood sugar level multiple times every day to see how it changes with meals and activities. Ask your healthcare practitioner how often to check. To do this, you will prick your finger with a small needle called a lancet. Then, you will place a drop of blood in the blood glucose meter, following the directions provided with your meter. You can also use a continuous glucose monitor to automatically track your blood sugar level. With this system, you'll be able to see your blood sugar levels as often as every five minutes. Knowing your blood sugar level allows you to adjust your insulin dose. For example, if you take insulin with a meal, you'll match the dose to the amount of carbohydrates or carbs you eat. Before starting physical activity, check your blood sugar. If it's too low or too high, delay physical activity until it improves. Your treatment plan also includes eating a healthy diet and getting regular exercise. They will help you manage your sugar level and may help reduce your risk of complications from type 1 diabetes. For more information about treatment for type 1 diabetes, talk to your healthcare practitioner.