Treatment for type 1 diabetes includes:
Frequent blood sugar monitoring
Eating healthy foods
Exercising regularly and maintaining a healthy weight
The goal is to keep your blood sugar level as close to normal as possible to delay or prevent complications. Although there are exceptions, generally, the goal is to keep your daytime blood sugar levels before meals between 70 and 130 mg/dL (3.9 to 7.2 mmol/L) and your after meal numbers no higher than 180 mg/dL (10 mmol/L) two hours after eating.
Good diabetes management can be overwhelming, especially when you’re first diagnosed. Take it one day at a time. And remember that you’re not alone. You’ll work closely with your diabetes treatment team to keep your blood sugar level as close to normal as possible.
Insulin and other medications
Anyone who has type 1 diabetes needs lifelong insulin therapy. After the diagnosis, there may be a “honeymoon” period, during which blood sugar is controlled with little or no insulin. However, this phase doesn’t last.
Types of insulin are many and include:
Examples are regular insulin (Humulin 70/30, Novolin 70/30, others), insulin isophane (Humulin N, Novolin N), insulin glulisine (Apidra), insulin lispro (Humalog) and insulin aspart (Novolog). Long-acting insulins include glargine (Lantus) and detemir (Levemir).
Additional medications also may be prescribed for people with type 1 diabetes, such as:
Pramlintide (Symlin). An injection of this medication before you eat can slow the movement of food through your stomach to curb the sharp increase in blood sugar that occurs after meals.
High blood pressure medications. Your doctor may prescribe medications known as angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors or angiotensin II receptor blockers (ARBs), because these medications also can help keep your kidneys healthy. These medications are recommended for people with diabetes that have blood pressures above 140/80 millimeters of mercury (mm Hg).
Aspirin. Your doctor may recommend you take baby or regular aspirin daily to protect your heart.
Cholesterol-lowering drugs. Your doctor may not wait until your cholesterol is elevated before he or she prescribes cholesterol-lowering agents known as statins. Cholesterol guidelines tend to be more aggressive for people with diabetes because of the elevated risk of heart disease. The American Diabetes Association recommends that low-density lipoprotein (LDL, or “bad”) cholesterol be below 100 mg/dL (2.6 mmol/L), and if you already have heart disease, your LDL goal is below 70 mg/dL (1.8 mmol/L). Your high-density lipoprotein (HDL, or “good”) cholesterol is recommended to be over 50 mg/dL (1.3 mmol/L) in women and over 40 mg/dL (1 mmol/L) in men. Triglycerides, another type of blood fat, are ideal when they’re less than 150 mg/dL (1.7 mmol/L).