Care at NUH

Resources for People with Newly Diagnosed Type 1 Diabetes

What is Type 1 Diabetes Mellitus

Type 1 Diabetes is an autoimmune condition characterised by the body’s inability to produce insulin. Insulin is critical for cells to absorb sugar and convert it into energy. As a result, a lack of insulin leads to elevated blood sugar levels. It is vital to understand that Type 1 Diabetes is not a consequence of your lifestyle or dietary choices.

Receiving the diagnosis

Being diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes can be an overwhelming experience. It represents a significant change in one's life, often accompanied by anxiety about the future and the need to acquire new skills for managing the condition. At NUH, our dedicated healthcare team is committed to supporting you in adapting to this new phase of life. 

Our aim is to assist you in leading a fulfilling life, a goal many have successfully achieved. We encourage you to remain hopeful. 

Who is on your healthcare team?

At NUH, you are supported by a comprehensive healthcare team, ensuring you are not alone in this journey. Your team includes: 

  • Doctors 
  • Diabetes educators (nurses and/or pharmacists) 
  • Dietitians 
  • Mental health providers 
Focus on these basics first

Feeling overwhelmed initially is common when learning new skills during the first few weeks post-diagnosis. Remember, it's normal not to master everything immediately. Allow yourself time to adapt and improve through practice.

Knowing and using your insulins

1.   Understanding and using insulins 
Your body is unable to produce insulin, so it's essential to administer it externally. You will be prescribed with two types of insulin: 

  • Basal insulin: Along-acting insulin, administered once or twice daily 
  • Quick-acting insulin: Administered before each meal 
  • Self-injection might seem daunting initially. For a practical guide on insulin injection and tips for a less painful experience, click here

2.   Monitoring blood sugar levels 
Regularly checking your blood sugar levels helps you understand your body better and also enables your healthcare team to offer more effective support. It will take some time to stabilise your blood sugar levels, please remain patient during this process.  

Learn about: 

3.   Managing hypoglycaemia 

Your blood sugar might drop below 4 mmol/L due to various factors, including an imbalance between insulin dose and food intake or physical activity. Learn how to manage low blood glucose effectively with this quick reference: Hypoglycaemia (low blood glucose). 

4.   Dietary adjustments 

Step 1: Healthy eating and reducing sugar intake 
Begin by focusing on healthy eating habits and minimising sugar intake. Avoid simple sugars like those in sugar-sweetened beverages and sweets to reduce significant spikes in blood sugar levels. 

Step 2: Identifying carbohydrates and practicing portion control 

Monitor blood sugar levels will highlight the impact of carbohydrates on these levels. Carbohydrates are found in foods like rice, noodles, root vegetables (potatoes) and sugary foods or drinks. 

Balancing carbohydrate intake and insulin dosage is crucial to maintaining target blood sugar levels. For more information on carbohydrates and food label reading, visit Diabetes and Food.  

Step 3: Learning carbohydrate counting 

As you become more adept, consult your healthcare team about carbohydrate counting and adjusting meal-time insulin doses. A dietitian can provide tailored guidance to enhance your confidence in managing a diverse diet. 

Caring for your mental health
Receiving a diagnosis of Type 1 Diabetes can be mentally challenging. It's essential to approach this period with self-compassion. 

Be kind to yourself. Remember, Type 1 Diabetes is not a result of personal lifestyle or habits Avoid self-blame and focus on proactive management of the condition. 

Be hopeful for the future. While it may seem daunting initially, it is entirely possible to lead a full and active life with Type 1 Diabetes. Embrace a hopeful outlook for the future. 

Know that you are not alone in this journey. Engaging with loved ones and friends can provide invaluable support. Additionally, connecting with local communities such as allows to meet others in Singapore who are managing Type 1 Diabetes. For those who require further assistance, professional support is available. Your healthcare team at NUH can guide you to appropriate resources. 
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