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How is type 1 diabetes treated?

Dr. Jeanne Morrison, PhD
Family Practitioner

Treatment options for diabetes vary, depending on the type of diabetes involved. However, the four primary factors in any diabetes treatment are weight management, a healthy diet, exercise and blood glucose monitoring. Everyone diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes will need to take some form of insulin. But, if you have been diagnosed with other types of diabetes, you will only need to take medications such as insulin if diet and exercise are insufficient.

There is no known cure for type 1 diabetes, sometimes referred to as juvenile diabetes. However, if you manage your diabetes effectively, you can have a long, healthy life. The primary goal of diabetes treatment is to stabilize blood glucose levels. The better your blood glucose is managed, the more positive your treatment outcomes.

Research studies and clinical trials are underway to help determine the causes of type 1 diabetes and how this condition can be prevented.

Type 1 diabetes is a chronic disease that currently has no cure. People with type 1 diabetes must inject insulin into their body daily and are therefore considered to be insulin-dependent.

The two goals of type 1 diabetes treatment are to make sure you feel well day-to-day and to prevent or delay long-term health problems, also called complications. The best way to reach those goals is by:

  • taking insulin
  • planning your meals—choosing what, how much, and when to eat
  • being physically active

Treating diabetes involves more than just managing blood glucose. It also includes treating blood pressure and cholesterol.

Type 1 diabetes is treated with insulin. With type 1 diabetes, the body cannot make insulin, so people have to take replacement insulin every day, either by injections or with an insulin pump. Injections can be given via an insulin pen. On one end of the pen is a very small, thin needle, which goes just under the skin. It might hurt a tiny bit for a very short amount of time. The replacement insulin acts just like insulin made in the body, allowing glucose into cells where the body can use it for fuel.

The second option is an insulin pump. This is a device that has a cannula, which is a small, thin tube that sits just under the skin. The pump allows a little amount of insulin to go into the body all the time. When people need extra insulin, all they have to do is press a button. A glucose meter helps keep track of how much glucose is in the blood. 

Continue Learning about Type 1 Diabetes Treatment

What Should Someone Look for in a Blood Glucose Meter?
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Are There Blood Glucose Meters That Will Transmit Information Directly to Your Doctor?
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Why Is There No Cure for Type 1 Diabetes?
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Is There a Cure for Type 1 Diabetes?
Is There a Cure for Type 1 Diabetes?

Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.