Managing Type 1 Diabetes

Many people feel overwhelmed when they first find out they have type 1 diabetes. There's a lot to learn and many changes to make. You don't need to do everything at once. Learning new things and making changes can be easier if you take small steps.

First Steps

Members of your health care team will help you learn the first steps in managing your diabetes including:

  • When and how to take insulin shots.
  • How insulin and food affect your blood sugar levels.
  • How and when to check your own blood sugar.
  • How to keep track of your blood sugar test results.
  • What to do if your blood sugar levels get too low or too high.
  • When to call your doctor or the Consulting Nurse Service.

Plan to check in with your doctor or other members of your health care team 3 or 4 days after your diagnosis. This will give you a chance to ask any questions and let your care team know how things are going.

Next Steps

After you've learned the first, basic skills, you'll be ready to move on to the next steps in managing your diabetes. Here are some of the things you'll learn:

  • What to eat and how to time snacks and meals with your insulin.
  • When to exercise and how to time your activities with your insulin.
  • How to balance insulin, food, and exercise to keep blood sugar levels as close to normal as possible.
  • How to use pattern management to look for patterns of high and low blood sugar levels.
  • How to use pattern management to make decisions about your diabetes care plan.

Ongoing Care

People with diabetes have a much higher chance of getting heart disease or having a stroke. Learn how to protect yourself and lower your risk.

Work with your health care team to set up a schedule for routine office visits and diabetes exams and tests.

If you need help between your regularly scheduled visits, you can contact a member of your health care team to help with questions and concerns. For example, if you're having a hard time sticking to your meal plan, you can make an appointment to meet with a dietitian. If you have questions about your medicines, you can talk to your doctor, nurse, or pharmacist.

You'll also find information and articles here on that can answer many of your questions and help you manage your diabetes.

Check out the Living Well with Diabetes workshops that Kaiser Permanente offers free to members.

By managing your diabetes, you can prevent or reduce many of the health problems related to diabetes and live a longer and healthier life.

Clinical review by David McCulloch, MD
Kaiser Permanente
Reviewed 03/01/2014