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Type 1 – Living With Diabetes

Lifestyle changes together with careful regular medical support can considerably minimise your risk of developing complications.

Healthy eating
It is not true that if you have diabetes you will need to eat special diet. Eat a healthy diet that is high in fibre, fruit and vegetables and low in fat, salt and sugar. Read more about healthy eating.
Different foods will affect you in different ways, so it is important to know what to eat and when to get the right amount of glucose for the insulin you are taking. A diabetes dietitian can help you work out a dietary plan that can be adapted to your specific needs.

Regular exercise
As physical activity lowers your blood glucose level, it is very important to exercise regularly if you have diabetes.
Like anyone else, you should aim to do at least 150 minutes (2 hours and 30 minutes) of moderate-intensity aerobic activity, such as cycling or fast walking, every week. However, before starting a new activity, speak to your GP or diabetes care team.
As exercise will affect your blood glucose level, you and your care team may have to adjust your insulin treatment or diet to keep your blood glucose level steady.

Do not smoke
If you have diabetes, your risk of developing a cardiovascular disease, such as a heart attack or stroke, is increased.
As well as increasing this risk further, smoking also increases your risk of many other serious smoking-related conditions, such as lung cancer.
If you want to give up smoking, your GP will be able to provide you with advice, support and treatment to help you quit.

Limit alcohol
If you have diabetes, drink alcohol in moderation (if you drink), and never drink alcohol on an empty stomach. Depending on the amount you drink, alcohol can cause either high or low blood glucose levels (hyperglycaemia or hypoglycaemia).
Drinking alcohol may also affect your ability to carry out insulin treatment or blood glucose monitoring, so always be careful not to drink too much. The recommended daily alcohol limit is three-to-four units for men and two-to-three units for women.

Keeping well
People with a long-term condition, such as type 1 diabetes, are encouraged to get a flu jab each autumn to protect against flu (influenza). An anti-pneumoccocal vaccination, which protects against a serious chest infection called pneumococcal pneumonia, is also recommended.

Information on this page is provided by NHS Choices. http://www.nhs.uk

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