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Friday, August 1, 2014
How to lead a normal life with type 1 diabetes
how can we prevent long term effects and lead a normal life with type 1? is it possible?
Yes it is possible! The important thing is to refuse to be "diabetic".
A person with Type 1 diabetes is a normal person - having diabetes is only one part of life. Life is different with diabetes, but it can still be normal. Everyone has a choice - you can be in control of diabetes - or you can let diabetes control you.
Diabetes complications are caused by chronic high blood glucose levels. The secret to lowering the risk of diabetes complications is keeping glucose levels in a good range - day after day, week after week, year after year.
It's easy to feel frustrated by the "not normal" things like testing blood glucose, counting carbohydrates, and taking insulin. Let's face it - having Type 1 diabetes can be hard work! But if we focus on what "health" is instead - like feeling good, going to work or school, doing everyday activities, playing sports, getting together with friends, traveling, etc. then it is obvious that life is normal, even with diabetes.
We are living in a great time, compared to years ago. People with Type 1 diabetes have many tools available to control blood glucose levels, like carbohydrate counting, new blood glucose meters, Hemoglobin A1c testing, new insulin regimens, insulin pens and insulin pumps, and continuous glucose monitors. Although it takes effort to use these tools, the rewards are great.
Most people are more frustrated with diabetes when glucose levels are out of control. When that happens, if you aren't sure what to do, get help from your diabetes educator or diabetes care provider. Don't think "that's just how it is" and give up. Being healthy is worth fighting for!
Every person with diabetes can control their blood glucose levels most of the time - by doing the basics well, like testing glucose frequently, counting carbs, taking insulin, and learning from glucose patterns. Just like brushing your teeth and flossing regularly protects your teeth and your gums, doing diabetes tasks regularly protects your health.
It's important to get help when glucose patterns become confusing. No one can know everything - even if you know a lot about diabetes, getting ideas from your diabetes educator or your diabetes care provider can be very helpful.
So preventing diabetes complications and leading a normal life with Type 1 diabetes is up to you - just take control of diabetes, and LIVE!
Nancy J Morwessel, CNP, MSN, CDE
Pediatric Nurse Practitioner
College of Medicine
University of Cincinnati