Goals for People with Type I Diabetes

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Learning that you have Type I diabetes may be frightening, but you can help yourself by learning to control your condition. Keep the following goals in mind:

• Becoming self-reliant and self-sufficient

• Balancing diet, exercise, and insulin

• Leading an active life that is as close to normal as possible

• Protecting your heart, nerves, blood vessels, eyes, and kidneys by controlling your blood glucose level

• Maintaining a good body weight

• Growing and developing normally (especially for children)

If you have Type I (insulin dependent) diabetes, your body is producing no insulin. With an absolute lack of insulin, you have probably experienced the most common symptoms, excessive thirst (polydipsia), frequent urination (polyuria), extreme hunger (polyphagia), extreme fatigue, and weight loss.

These symptoms were caused by hyperglycemia and a breakdown of body fats. If you have had these symptoms, you are ketosis-prone (See Chapter 1).

When you were diagnosed with Type I diabetes your blood sugar was probably over 300 mg and ketones were present in your urine.

When you were diagnosed with Type I diabetes your blood sugar was probably over 300 mg and ketones were present in your urine.

Without insulin, these symptoms progress to dehydration, resulting in low blood volume, increased pulse rate, and dry, flushed, skin. Ketones accumulate in the blood faster than the body is able to eliminate them through the urine or exhaled breath. Respiration becomes rapid, and shallow and breath has a fruity odor. Other symptoms indicating a progression towards diabetic ketoacidotic coma (DKA) include vomiting, stomach pains, and a decreased level of consciousness. Insulin and intravenous fluids can reverse this condition.

Although the DKA is unavoidable at certain times, the best way to reduce your risk of this condition is to always take your insulin and follow Sick Day Rules when ill. For information see Chapter 10.

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