A person with IDDM must have insulin injections to survive.
Without insulin, symptoms worsen until the patient loses
consciousness and slips into a coma. With daily insulin shots and a
careful diet, however, most people with IDDM can lead active lives
with the same ambitions and challenges as those without
Treatment for IDDM includes a daily routine of insulin shots or
use of an insulin pump. Following a doctor's instructions, a person
with IDDM buys insulin and syringes and injects himself or herself
daily. (The parent of a young child with IDDM can do this for the
child.) More and more people are also using home blood glucose
monitoring devices to measure their blood glucose during the day.
In this way, they can tailor the insulin dose more closely to
changes in their hour-to-hour blood glucose. Blood glucose
monitoring is a more accurate way to monitor diabetes treatment
than urine testing.
Eating the right foods at the right time is an important part of
treatment. A person with IDDM needs to time meals with insulin
doses to keep blood glucose from getting too high or low. The foods
you choose can play a role in controlling blood glucose levels,
too. Increasing the proportion of fiber and complex carbohydrates
in your diet and avoiding refined sugar may aid in reducing drastic
changes in blood glucose and may, in some people, permit lowering
of insulin dose. Foods containing fiber include beans, whole
grains, and some fruits, while complex carbohydrates, or starches,
include potatoes, rice, and pasta.
Reducing fats and cholesterol can help reduce the risk of heart
disease, which affects people with diabetes more often than those
with normal glucose metabolism.
Exercise, like diet, can help reduce the risk of heart disease.
Being fit can also bring a sense of well-being and strength that
has special meaning for someone with a chronic illness like
Exercise carefully, though. Strenuous exercise increases the
muscles' use of glucose, so it can lower glucose in the blood. At
the same time, exercise also stimulates the body to release glucose
and fats for use as energy. This stimulus can have the effect of
raising blood glucose. In order to exercise safely, you should
balance insulin dose, meals, and the timing of exercise to keep
blood glucose levels from getting too high or too low.