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Type 1 diabetes in adults: the care you should expect

Type 1 diabetes in adults: the care you should expect

Type 1 diabetes causes people to have too much sugar (glucose) in their blood. It is caused when the body cannot make enough of a hormone called insulin, which controls how much sugar is in the blood.

Type 1 diabetes puts people at risk of long-term problems with their blood vessels (for example, stroke), eyes, feet, heart, kidneys and nerves. It is a life-long condition that affects everyday life. People with type 1 diabetes will need:

  • to have a healthy lifestyle (which may mean changing their diet)

  • to take insulin to control their blood sugar level

  • regular check‑ups.

We want this guideline to make a difference to people with type 1 diabetes by making sure:

  • they get the correct diagnosis

  • they get all help they need to manage their diabetes, including insulin, education, and advice on diet and exercise

  • they get regular checks for long-term problems, and treatment if they need it

  • they are encouraged to see a dentist regularly, to get checked for gum disease

  • they are involved in decisions about their care, such as choosing an average blood sugar target (called a HbA1c level) – the target is usually 48 mmol/mol (or 6.5%), but for some people, a different target can be better

  • they are offered a choice of continuous glucose monitoring or flash devices to help them regularly check their blood sugar levels

  • they are taught how to stop their blood sugar levels from getting too high (hyperglycaemia, or a hyper) or too low (hypoglycaemia, or a hypo), and how to manage hypers and hypos when they happen

  • they know what to do if their diabetes gets out of control and they think they have diabetic ketoacidosis (a serious illness that needs to be treated in hospital).

Making decisions together

Decisions about treatment and care are best when they are made together. Your health and care professionals should give you clear information, talk with you about your options and listen carefully to your views and concerns.

To help you make decisions, think about:

  • what matters most to you – what do you want to get out of any treatment or care?

  • what are you most worried about – are there risks or downsides to the treatment that worry you more than others?

  • how will the treatment affect your day-to-day life?

  • what happens if you do not want to have treatment?

If you need more support to understand the information you are given, tell your healthcare professional.

Read more about making decisions about your care.

  • Information Standard