This material must not be used for commercial purposes, or in any hospital or medical facility. Failure to comply may result in legal action.
Type 1 Diabetes in Adults: New Diagnosis
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:
Type 1 diabetes is a disease that affects how your body makes insulin and uses glucose (sugar). Normally, when the blood sugar level increases, the pancreas makes more insulin. Insulin helps move sugar out of the blood so it can be used for energy. Type 1 diabetes develops because the immune system destroys cells in the pancreas that make insulin. The pancreas cannot make enough insulin, so the blood sugar level continues to rise. A family history of type 1 diabetes may increase your risk for diabetes. Diabetes cannot be cured, but it can be managed.
Have someone call your local emergency number (911 in the US) if:
- You cannot be woken.
Return to the emergency department if:
- Your blood sugar level is above 240 mg/dL and does not come down with treatment.
- You have signs of high blood sugar levels, such as blurred or double vision.
- You have signs of high ketone levels, such as breath has a fruity, sweet smell, or your breathing is shallow.
- You have symptoms of a low blood sugar level, such as trouble thinking, sweating, or a pounding heartbeat.
- Your blood sugar level is lower than normal and it does not improve with treatment.
Call your diabetes care provider if:
- Your blood sugar levels are higher than your target goals.
- You often have low blood sugar levels.
- Your skin is red, dry, warm, or swollen.
- You have a wound that does not heal.
- You have trouble coping with your illness, or you feel anxious or depressed.
- You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.
- You will need insulin each day. Insulin may be injected multiple times in a day, or given through an insulin pump. You and your care team provider will discuss which method is best for you. You or a family member will be taught how to give insulin injections if this is the best method for you. Your family member can give you the injections if you are not able. Take your insulin as directed. Too much insulin may cause your blood sugar level to go too low. You will be taught how to adjust each insulin dose you take with meals. Always check your blood sugar level before the meal. The dose will be based on your blood sugar level, carbohydrates in the meal, and activity after the meal.
- Glucose tablets may be given to increase your blood sugar if it has dropped too low from treatment.
- Take your medicine as directed. Contact your healthcare provider if you think your medicine is not helping or if you have side effects. Tell him or her if you are allergic to any medicine. Keep a list of the medicines, vitamins, and herbs you take. Include the amounts, and when and why you take them. Bring the list or the pill bottles to follow-up visits. Carry your medicine list with you in case of an emergency.
Check your blood sugar level as directed:
You will be taught how to use a glucose monitor. You will need to check your blood sugar level at least 3 times each day. Ask your care team provider when and how often to check during the day. If you check your blood sugar level before a meal , it should be between 80 and 130 mg/dL. If you check your blood sugar level 1 to 2 hours after a meal , it should be less than 180 mg/dL. Ask your care team provider if these are good goals for you. You may need to check for ketones in your urine or blood if your level is higher than directed. Write down your results, and show them to your care team provider. Your provider may make changes to your medicine, food, or exercise schedules.
If your blood sugar level is too low:
Your blood sugar level is too low if it goes below 70 mg/dL. If the level is too low, eat or drink 15 grams of fast-acting carbohydrate. These are found naturally in fruits. Fast-acting carbohydrates will raise your blood sugar level quickly. Examples of 15 grams of fast-acting carbohydrate are 4 ounces (½ cup) of fruit juice or 4 ounces of regular soda. Other examples are 2 tablespoons of raisins or 3 to 4 glucose tablets. Check your blood sugar level 15 minutes later. If the level is still low (less than 100 mg/dL), eat another 15 grams of carbohydrate. When the level returns to 100 mg/dL, eat a snack or meal that contains carbohydrates. This will help prevent another drop in blood sugar. Always carefully follow your care team provider's instructions on how to treat low blood sugar levels.
Wear medical alert identification:
Wear medical alert jewelry or carry a card that says you have diabetes. Ask your care team provider where to get these items.
Check your feet each day for sores:
Wear shoes and socks that fit correctly. Ask your care team provider for more information about foot care.
Follow your meal plan:
A dietitian will help you make a meal plan to keep your blood sugar level steady. Do not skip meals. Your blood sugar level may drop too low if you have taken diabetes medicine and do not eat.
- Keep track of carbohydrates (sugar and starchy foods). Your blood sugar level can get too high if you eat too many carbohydrates. Your dietitian will help you plan meals and snacks that have the right amount of carbohydrates.
- Eat low-fat foods , such as skinless chicken and low-fat milk.
- Eat less sodium (salt). Limit high-sodium foods, such as soy sauce, potato chips, and soup. Do not add salt to food you cook. Limit your use of table salt.
- Eat high-fiber foods , such as vegetables, whole-grain breads, and beans.
- Know the risks if you choose to drink alcohol. Alcohol can cause your blood sugar levels to be low if you use insulin. Alcohol can cause high blood sugar levels and weight gain if you drink too much. Women 21 years or older and men 65 years or older should limit alcohol to 1 drink a day. Men aged 21 to 64 years should limit alcohol to 2 drinks a day. A drink of alcohol is 12 ounces of beer, 5 ounces of wine, or 1½ ounces of liquor.
Maintain a healthy weight:
A healthy weight can help you control your diabetes. Your care team provider will tell you what a healthy weight will be for you. He or she will help you make a plan to get to that weight and stay there.
Exercise as directed:
Physical activity, such as exercise, can help keep your blood sugar level steady, decrease your risk of heart disease, and help you lose weight. Exercise for at least 150 minutes every week. Spread physical activity over at least 3 days a week. Do not skip more than 2 days in a row. Include muscle strengthening activities 2 to 3 days each week. Older adults should include balance training 2 to 3 times each week. Activities that help increase balance include yoga and tai chi. Work with your care team to create an activity plan.
- Check your blood sugar level before and after exercise. Your care team provider may tell you to change the amount of insulin you take or food you eat. If your blood sugar level is high, check your blood or urine for ketones before you exercise. Do not exercise if your blood sugar level is high and you have ketones.
- If your blood sugar level is less than 100 mg/dL, have a carbohydrate snack before you exercise. Examples are 4 to 6 crackers, ½ banana, 8 ounces (1 cup) of milk, or 4 ounces (½ cup) of juice. Drink water or liquids that do not contain sugar before, during, and after exercise.
- Do not sit for longer than 30 minutes. If you cannot walk around, at least stand up. This will help you stay active and keep your blood circulating.
Do not smoke:
Nicotine and other chemicals in cigarettes and cigars can cause lung damage and make it more difficult to manage your diabetes. Ask your care team provider for information if you currently smoke and need help to quit. Do not use e-cigarettes or smokeless tobacco in place of cigarettes or to help you quit. They still contain nicotine.
You have a higher risk for serious illness if you get the flu, pneumonia, COVID-19, or hepatitis. Ask your care team provider if you should get a flu, pneumonia, or hepatitis B vaccine, and when to get the COVID-19 vaccine.
Follow up with your care team providers as directed:
You will need to return to have your blood sugar level checked. Your levels will let your care team know if your treatment plan is working for you. Care team providers will continue to teach you about diabetes. Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits. Talk to your care team if you cannot afford your medicine.
© Copyright IBM Corporation 2021 Information is for End User's use only and may not be sold, redistributed or otherwise used for commercial purposes. All illustrations and images included in CareNotes® are the copyrighted property of A.D.A.M., Inc. or IBM Watson Health
The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.
Learn more about Type 1 Diabetes in Adults: New Diagnosis (Aftercare Instructions)
IBM Watson Micromedex
- Diabetes and your Skin
- Diabetic Hyperglycemia
- Type 1 Diabetes in Adults: New Diagnosis
- Type 1 Diabetes in Children
Medicine.com Guides (External)
Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.