How to manage Type 1 Diabetes and Type 2 Diabetes

How to manage type 1 and type 2 Diabetes. The 3 most important ways to upgrade your lifestyle. 

Take charge of your health.

Food and diet

Food is important in keeping your body healthy, whether you are Diabetic or not. Most people don’t pay much attention to their basic nutritional needs.

In general, you should limit your fat intake, and include food from each of the food groups at each meal. If you are overweight, eat smaller portions, reduce your intake of fat, and limit the amount of alcohol you drink.

If you are Diabetic, you should follow a nutritionally sound diet to:

  1. Achieve and maintain good control of your blood glucose levels.
  2. Regulate body weight.
  3. Prevent or delay the potential long-term complications of Diabetes.

You should also consider visiting a dietician to work out a diet plan suitable for your own particular lifestyle. A word of caution: there are many trending and popular diet plans that may not be suitable for your condition. For example: the Banting Diet allows a high amount of fat intake per day, which could be dangerous for a Diabetic, if they have raised cholesterol levels too. The component of the diet that advocates reducing carbohydrates may be beneficial to a Diabetic patient, as many of the carbohydrates that are commonly eaten have high levels of sugar contained in them and are nutritionally poor eg. white bread, cakes, pizza and pasta.


Regular exercise helps your body lower blood glucose levels, promotes weight loss and reduces stress.

Always check with your doctor before starting any exercise routine, especially if you have led an inactive lifestyle. Always stop exercising immediately, if you feel any pain, feel tired and/or dizzy. In particular, you should consult with your doctor to assess how best to adjust your insulin and diet – to prevent low blood glucose levels while exercising.

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Treating Type 1 Diabetes

The aim of Diabetic treatment is to maintain your blood glucose levels within the normal range (4 – 6 mmol/l). This may include healthy eating, exercise and insulin injections.

Good management of Type 1 Diabetes entails regular blood glucose monitoring: regularly testing your blood glucose levels and adjusting your treatment accordingly.

Treating Type 2 Diabetes

The three main treatment options for Type 2 Diabetes are: diet, exercise, and medication. In Type 2 Diabetes, diet and exercise alone are often all that is necessary to bring blood glucose down to manageable levels.

Sometimes oral medication is necessary. Oral medication (also known as hypoglycemic agents), helps your body to metabolise glucose obtained from food. These drugs are not Insulin, but they do stimulate Insulin-producing cells to secrete more Insulin, and they help overcome Insulin resistance. Diabetic medications and other treatments are used only as an addition to diet and exercise, never in place of them. Diet and exercise remain the mainstay of treatment and the Diabetic lifestyle.

Controlling blood pressure and blood cholesterol levels are also important components of treatment, and Type 2 Diabetics may well (after a period of time) require supplementary Insulin injections too. The necessity for Insulin treatment is greatly reduced if you commit to a healthy diet and exercise programme, and live a generally healthy lifestyle (limiting alcohol intake and extreme stress, and get enough sleep).

Related articles

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Getting tested for, monitoring and managing Diabetes

Getting tested for Diabetes is a process. The same goes for monitoring it after diagnosis.

Diabetes glossary for beginners.

Diabetes glossary for beginners

Understand common Diabetes terms

Types of Diabetes.

Types of Diabetes

Knowing which Diabetes type you have is important for managing it effectively.

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