Medical Treatment for Type 1 Diabetes

Type 1 Diabetes

Treatment of diabetes almost always involves the daily injection of insulin, usually a combination of short-acting insulin [for example, lispro (Humalog) or aspart (NovoLog)] and a longer acting insulin [for example,  NPH, Lente, glargine (Lantus), detemir, or ultralente].
  • Insulin must be given as an injection. If taken by mouth, insulin would be destroyed in the stomach before it could get into the blood where it is needed.
  • Most people with type 1 diabetes give these injections to themselves. Even if someone else usually gives the patient injections, it is important that the patient knows how to do it in case the other person is unavailable.
  • A trained professional will show the patient how to store and inject the insulin. Usually this is a nurse who works with the healthcare provider or a diabetes educator.
  • Insulin is usually given in two or three injections per day, generally around mealtimes. Dosage is individualized and is tailored to the patient's specific needs by the healthcare provider. Longer acting insulins are typically administered one or two times per day.
  • Some people have their insulin administered by continuous infusion pumps to provide adequate blood glucose control. Supplemental mealtime insulin is programmed into the pump by the individual as recommended by his or her healthcare provider.
  • It is very important to eat if the patient has taken insulin, as the insulin will lower blood sugar regardless of whether they have eaten. If insulin is taken without eating, the result may be hypoglycemia. This is called an insulin reaction.
  • There is an adjustment period while the patient learns how insulin affects them, and how to time meals and exercise with insulin injections to keep blood sugar level as even as possible.
  • Keeping accurate records of blood sugar levels and insulin dosages is crucial for the patient's diabetes management.
  • Eating a consistent, healthy diet appropriate for the patient's size and weight is essential in controlling blood sugar level.


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