Connect with others who understand.

sign up Log in
About myT1Dteam
Powered By
See answer

Treating Type 1 Diabetes: 8 Things You Need To Know

Medically reviewed by Kelsey Stalvey, PharmD
Written by Emily Wagner, M.S.
Posted on February 7, 2024

The main goal of type 1 diabetes treatment is to control high blood sugar levels with insulin therapy. People with type 1 diabetes don’t make enough insulin on their own. As a result, their cells can’t use sugar for fuel, and blood sugar levels rise. Several types of insulin and insulin delivery systems can help treat type 1 diabetes.

In addition, lifestyle changes and appropriate diabetes education can boost the overall management of type 1 diabetes. If you or your child is diagnosed with type 1 diabetes, you’ll work with your doctor or your child’s pediatrician to find the best treatment plan.

This article will discuss the eight things you need to know about type 1 diabetes treatments.

1. Several Types of Insulin Can Treat Type 1 Diabetes

When you or your child first receives a type 1 diabetes diagnosis, it’s important to learn as much as you can about insulin. This hormone is normally made by the pancreas and helps the body’s cells use sugar for energy. People with type 1 diabetes can’t make insulin, so they need to give it to themselves as treatment.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) provides information on the different types of insulin. Each type is classified by how fast it begins working and how long its effects last. Doctors choose a certain type of insulin based on many factors, including a person’s:

  • Age
  • Physical activity level
  • Diet
  • Management of blood sugar levels

They’ll also consider how long it takes the body to absorb insulin and how long its effects last.

The seven types of insulin are classified by how fast they begin working and how long their effects last.

Enter Cell 2 Content Here...

Enter Cell 3 Content Here...

Enter Cell 4 Content Here...

Enter Cell 5 Content Here...

Enter Cell 6 Content Here...

In addition, it’s important to familiarize yourself with some terms that describe how insulin works:

  • Onset — The amount of time it takes for insulin to start working
  • Peak time — The point when insulin works at maximum strength
  • Duration — How long insulin’s effects last to lower blood sugar

Your child’s doctor will explain each kind of insulin and its use. This table provides an overview of the types of insulin your child may be prescribed:

2. Your Child Will Do Regular Blood Sugar Checks

People with type 1 diabetes need to keep a close eye on their blood sugar levels. Levels that are either too high (known as hyperglycemia) or too low (hypoglycemia) can become dangerous. Your child can use their blood sugar level to determine how much insulin they need to take. They should also know that if their levels are too low, they need to eat to bring their sugar back up.

Your child’s pediatrician will likely recommend checking blood sugar at least four times a day. The American Diabetes Association (ADA) recommends testing before eating, exercising, and sleeping. If your child uses an insulin pump or takes insulin injections at least three times a day, they may need to check more often.

Blood sugar levels can be checked in two ways. Your child will likely start out using a blood glucose meter. They’ll prick their finger and put a few drops of blood on a test strip attached to the glucose meter, which gives results in a few seconds.

A continuous glucose monitor (CGM) checks blood sugar levels every five to 15 around the clock. The device has a sensor that sits underneath the skin and measures blood sugar. A fingerstick check will still be needed from time to time, but a CGM can help if your child has hypoglycemic episodes or their blood sugar levels fluctuate quite a bit.

A continuous glucose monitor checks blood sugar levels ​​​​​​every
five to 15 minutes around the clock.

Enter Cell 2 Content Here...

Enter Cell 3 Content Here...

Enter Cell 4 Content Here...

Enter Cell 5 Content Here...

Enter Cell 6 Content Here...

3. Insulin Injections May Be Given With Syringes or Pens

Insulin can be taken in one of four ways — using a syringe, a pen, a pump, or an inhaler. The treatment method depends on the type of insulin your child uses and their comfort level. Their pediatrician will discuss which options may work best, and your child’s needs and treatments may change over time.

Insulin injections use either a syringe or pen to deliver insulin. To use a syringe, you’ll accurately measure the amount of insulin needed from a small vial. It’s best to inject insulin into the belly and rotate the injection site with each shot. This prevents small, hard lumps from forming under the skin that are difficult to inject into. Your child may need more than one shot to meet their target blood sugar level.

Insulin pens come prefilled with insulin or with prefilled cartridges to deliver the correct dose. Pens are typically easier to use than injections and are more convenient to carry around, but they can cost more than syringes. Some children may prefer using an insulin pen because it looks less intimidating than a syringe.

4. Insulin Pumps Provide Steady Dosing

Insulin pumps are small devices that provide a steady dose of insulin all day long. Your child can adjust the dosing according to their blood glucose levels. They can also give themselves extra insulin before mealtimes.

Some pumps use a very small plastic tube that runs insulin from the device underneath the skin. The dose is adjusted using a programmable machine attached to a belt or placed in a pouch or pocket.

Another type of insulin pump attaches directly to the skin with adhesive, usually on the upper arm or belly. A very small tube sits underneath the skin, and a wireless handheld device controls insulin dosing.

5. An Artificial Pancreas Combines Three Devices

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently approved a new technology known as an artificial pancreas. This system uses three devices — a CGM, an insulin pump, and a specialized program on a smartphone or the pump.

The CGM monitors blood sugar levels and sends information to the smartphone or insulin pump. If glucose levels are too high, the pump calculates how much insulin is needed and delivers it.

An artificial pancreas can help people better manage their type 1 diabetes and improve their overall quality of life. It also helps prevent hypoglycemia and hyperglycemia because it constantly monitors blood glucose levels.

6. Some Adults Choose Insulin Inhalers

Some adults might opt to use an inhaler to deliver ultra-rapid-acting insulin right before eating. Insulin inhalers are typically used with injectable forms of long-acting insulin to control blood sugar levels. However, this method is less commonly used than injection.

7. A New Treatment May Delay Type 1 Diabetes Progression

In late 2022, the FDA also approved teplizumab-mzwv (Tzield) to slow progression from stage 2 type 1 diabetes to stage 3. Adults and children ages 8 and older can receive teplizumab-mzwv.

Type 1 diabetes has three stages. The second stage occurs when immune system proteins called autoantibodies attack the pancreas. The pancreas then makes less insulin, and blood sugar levels start to rise. At stage 2, symptoms haven’t yet developed.

People with stage 3 type 1 diabetes can no longer make enough insulin on their own, and they begin experiencing symptoms. Doctors and researchers have found that teplizumab-mzwv blocks the immune system from attacking the insulin-producing cells in the pancreas (beta cells). This delays progression to stage 3 type 1 diabetes.

8. A Diabetes Educator Can Help With Lifestyle Changes

Along with insulin treatments, some lifestyle changes can help you or your child live a healthier life with type 1 diabetes. It’s important to work closely with your diabetes care team or your child’s team. A diabetes educator can demonstrate how and when to test blood sugar and how to administer insulin.

A dietitian can also teach you or your child how to count carbohydrates to calculate how much insulin is needed. By learning how to properly treat and manage type 1 diabetes, you or your child can continue living a healthy life.

Talk With Others Who Understand

On myT1Dteam, the social network for people living with type 1 diabetes and their loved ones, members come together to ask questions, give advice, and share their stories with those who understand life with type 1 diabetes.

Are you or your child living with type 1 diabetes? What treatments have best helped manage the condition? Share your experience in a comment below, or start a conversation on your Activities page.

Posted on February 7, 2024

A myT1Dteam Subscriber

I was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes at the age of 16. I am now 62 years old. So I have been dealing with Type 1 for over 40 years. I would like to say to the Type 1 DM so much has developed over… read more

posted June 24
All updates must be accompanied by text or a picture.

We'd love to hear from you! Please share your name and email to post and read comments.

You'll also get the latest articles directly to your inbox.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.
All updates must be accompanied by text or a picture.

Subscribe now to ask your question, get answers, and stay up to date on the latest articles.

Get updates directly to your inbox.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.
What To Do When Your Sugar Is 600+
April 15, 2024 by A myT1Dteam Member 3 answers
Can A Type 1 Diabetic Benefit From Eating Fat Bombs As A Snack?
May 25, 2024 by A myT1Dteam Member 1 answer
How Is Answering Our Questions?
June 29, 2024 by A myT1Dteam Member
Kelsey Stalvey, PharmD received her Doctor of Pharmacy from Pacific University School of Pharmacy in Portland, Oregon, and went on to complete a one-year postgraduate residency at Sarasota Memorial Hospital in Sarasota, Florida. Learn more about her here.
Emily Wagner, M.S. holds a Master of Science in biomedical sciences with a focus in pharmacology. She is passionate about immunology, cancer biology, and molecular biology. Learn more about her here.

Recent Articles

Clinical trials are research studies that test the safety and effectiveness of new drugs, treatme...

7 Facts About Clinical Trials for Type 1 Diabetes

Clinical trials are research studies that test the safety and effectiveness of new drugs, treatme...
Do you experience large blood glucose (sugar) swings with type 1 or type 2 diabetes? You may have...

Brittle Diabetes: Symptoms, Diagnosis, and More

Do you experience large blood glucose (sugar) swings with type 1 or type 2 diabetes? You may have...
Your type 1 diabetes diagnosis could help you pay for a higher education. If you or your child ar...

11 Scholarships and Grants for Students With Type 1 Diabetes

Your type 1 diabetes diagnosis could help you pay for a higher education. If you or your child ar...
If you see social media posts or comments in online chat forums claiming that diabetes is reversi...

Can Type 1 Diabetes Be Reversed?

If you see social media posts or comments in online chat forums claiming that diabetes is reversi...
If you or your child lives with type 1 diabetes, you may have heard it called an “autoimmune dise...

Is Type 1 Diabetes an Autoimmune Disease?

If you or your child lives with type 1 diabetes, you may have heard it called an “autoimmune dise...
You may have noticed a lot of headlines about medications like semaglutide injection (Ozempic) be...

Is It Safe To Take Ozempic With Type 1 Diabetes?

You may have noticed a lot of headlines about medications like semaglutide injection (Ozempic) be...
myT1Dteam My type 1 diabetes Team

Thank you for subscribing!

Become a member to get even more:

sign up for free

close