Controlling Type 1 diabetes is a tough balancing act whereby medication needs to be carefully chosen to counteract the blood glucose raising effect of our diet.

As if this wasn’t enough, there are a number of other factors that need to be taken into account such as effects of exercise, stress, illness and hormones.

Regular monitoring of blood glucose levels therefore plays a large part in daily management of type 1 diabetes.

Blood testing

For those of us with type 1 diabetes, blood glucose testing is one of the most powerful tools we have. But to ensure testing is effective, you need to review results and take time to understand what’s going on.

There is a large number of factors which can affect our sugar levels so it’s useful to find ways to narrow down the factors where possible.

It can help to focus closely on certain parts of the day, say you may fit in an extra test in the morning to see how your levels respond to breakfast.

Once you get a good idea of what’s going on with your levels in the morning, you may want to switch your attention to another part of the day.

This type of testing can help to keep you focused and ensures you’re learning from and not just reacting to your test results.

Carbohydrate counting

Carbohydrate counting, often shortened to carb counting, involves working out how much carbohydrate is in each meal you have so that you can effectively estimate how much insulin to take.

Carb counting can involve a mix of dedication as well as a certain amount of trial and error before you get the hang of it. It’s not the easiest skill to conquer, but there are tools and various education courses available to help you.

Controlling roller coaster levels

It’s common for people with type 1 diabetes to sometimes fall into a cycle of too high sugar levels followed by too low sugar levels (and so on) in quick succession.

This can often be caused by over treating high sugar levels and sometimes over treating low sugar levels as well.

This pattern of high and low levels can often develop as a result of being tired, busy or frustrated by our diabetes control.

Even if you’re very busy, it often helps out in the mid- to long-term if you make a bit more time for your diabetes so you don’t rush treatment decisions.

Consider a different insulin regimen

If you’ve tried everything you can but still either can’t get your A1c (long-term measure of blood glucose control) down to an acceptable level, or can’t prevent frequent hypos from occurring then you may need to consider changing onto a different insulin regimen.

Some people may benefit from a simpler insulin regimen, such as twice daily injections, whereas others may find it better having the additional flexibility of doing multiple injections a day or going onto an insulin pump.

Insulin pump therapy, in particular, has been associated with improved diabetes control for people with type 1 diabetes.

If you wish to discuss what options you have in terms of switching to a different insulin regimen, speak with your clinician or diabetes care team.