Type 1 Diabetes is an autoimmune condition in which the body is not able to produce insulin. Without insulin, your cells are not able to take in sugar and use it for energy. This leads to high blood sugar levels.
It important for you to know that Type 1 Diabetes is NOT caused by your lifestyle or eating habits.
Receiving news that you have Type 1 Diabetes for the first time can be overwhelming. It is a life-changing diagnosis. You may be anxious about what the future may bring. You may also feel overwhelmed by the new skills you have to learn.
Your healthcare team in National University Hospital is committed to supporting you in your journey towards a new normal.
Our goal is to help you live out your life to the fullest. We know for a fact that it is possible for you to achieve that. We have seen many people achieve that. So do not lose hope.
You have a whole team behind you. You are not alone. Your team in National University Hospital consists of:
You may feel overwhelmed by all the new skills to pick up. Focus on these few basic skills in your first weeks after learning of your diagnosis.
Like learning something new for the first time, you may not get everything right initially. That is OK. Give yourself time and space to learn to learn. You will get better with practice.
Because your body is not able to produce its own insulin, insulin needs to be replaced through the use of injections. You will be prescribed with 2 types of insulin:
It may seem awkward, difficult, or even terrifying to give yourself an injection. Click here for a practical guide on how to inject insulin & our tips for a less painful injection.
Checking your blood sugar levels allows you to know your body better, and also enables your healthcare team to help you more effectively. It will take some time for your blood sugar levels to get under control, so do not be discouraged initially.
Learn how to perform finger-prick glucose checks or use a flash glucose monitor:
Your blood sugar may drop to <4 mmol/L due to an imbalance between your insulin dose and what you have eaten, or due to other factors like exercise. Know what to do to when your blood glucose is low with this quick reference: Hypoglycemia (low blood glucose).
The first steps you can take are to focus on healthy eating and minimizing sugar intake. This means avoiding simple sugars such as sugar-sweetened beverages and sweets. This will help you reduce large spikes in blood sugar levels.
As you monitor your blood sugar levels, you may begin to notice that the more carbohydrates you consume, the higher the blood sugar will rise. Carbohydrates include starchy food like rice, noodles, root vegetables like potato, and sugary food or drinks.
You may also observe blood sugar levels plunging to hypoglycemia levels (<4 mmol/L) after giving meal-time insulin if you eat too little carbohydrates. Therefore, recognizing carbohydrates and practicing portion control can help you keep your blood sugar levels within target range.
If you would like to learn more about carbohydrates and food label reading, you may visit Diabetes and Food.
As you progress in your learning journey, speak to your healthcare team on learning carbohydrate counting, and giving the right amount of meal-time insulin for your meals. This will help you eat a variety of foods more confidently. A dietitian can guide you and help you learn at your pace.
After hearing about your diagnosis, there may be a lot going through your mind.
Be kind to yourself. Do not blame yourself for your condition. Type 1 Diabetes is not caused by your lifestyle or habits.
Be hopeful for the future. It may not feel like that at the moment, but you will be able to live a full life even with Type 1 Diabetes.
Know that you don't have to go at this alone. Reach out for support from your loved ones and friends. You can also find support also in local communities like typeone.sg, where you can meet others who live with Type 1 Diabetes in Singapore. There are also avenues to seek professional help. Speak to your health-care team to find out more.
Beyond Type 1
Resources for People with Diabetes (NUH)