Living with diabetes: how to best manage Type 1 and Type 2

Knowing how to properly manage your diabetes, whether you have Type 1 or Type 2, can ensure that you live a healthy and happy life. According to the American Diabetes Association, there are three components to managing diabetes:¹ diabetes medications, nutrition, and physical activity. Key to successful diabetes management is continued consultation on these components with your health care team—which could include your doctor, a nurse, a dietician, a pharmacist, and a diabetes educator.

Here is what to think about if you are living with Type 1:

  • Glucose and insulin: Because your body does not create insulin, you have to give yourself insulin with an insulin pen or pump. Your health care team can help you determine how much insulin you need, what type of insulin is best for you, and how often you need to check your blood glucose levels.
  • Nutrition: The type of food you eat for snacks or at mealtimes can directly affect your blood glucose level. As a result, the foods you eat can affect the amount of insulin you need to inject, so it is important to make sure you work with your doctor to develop an appropriate dietary schedule.
  • Physical activity: Incorporating exercise into your daily routine can help you maintain a stable glucose level, increase your mental alertness, and boost your energy levels. Doing so is easier than you may think; for example, take the stairs whenever possible, or use your lunch hour to hit the gym.

Here is what to think about if you have Type 2:

  • Medicine: Diabetes medications, both pills and insulin, can lower blood glucose levels in different ways for Type 2 patients who don’t make enough insulin or cannot use it properly. Consult your health care team to help determine which medicines are best for you and how often to check your blood glucose levels. 
  • Nutrition: There is not a strict diet for people living with Type 2 diabetes to follow. However, there are certain good practices to live by when crafting meals. For example, eating a diet rich in vegetables, fruits, lean protein, and whole grain, in measured portions, is essential.
  • Physical activity: Exercising lowers your blood glucose level and can elevate your mind and your mood. Look at exercise in a holistic manner by creating workouts that incorporate cardio or aerobic activity, strength training, and stretching.

Eating right and incorporating physical activity into your daily routine can help you succeed in keeping your blood glucose levels in a healthy range. It’s important to take the time to work with your health care team to develop a diabetes management strategy and routine that works for you.

1. American Diabetes Association, “Living with Type 1 Diabetes,” accessed April 2014,


American Diabetes Association, “Living with Diabetes,” accessed April 2014,

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