Information for the public

Learning about type 1 diabetes

Learning about type 1 diabetes

Your diabetes team should teach you all about type 1 diabetes. They should teach you:

  • how to inject insulin

  • how to check your blood glucose

  • how food, drink and exercise affect diabetes

  • what to do if you are ill (for example, if you have the flu)

  • how to spot low blood glucose levels (called hypoglycaemia, or a hypo for short) and high blood glucose levels (called hyperglycaemia), and what to do when this happens.

What they teach you should be based on:

  • what you want to learn and how you want to be taught

  • how well you are coping with having diabetes

  • how old you are

  • how much you already know about diabetes

  • what you want to do and achieve in your life.

Your diabetes team should always check that you understand everything they tell you. This includes if you need the information provided in a different way (for example, if you don't understand English very well or you have a health condition that makes it hard to understand things). You can also ask any questions you have about diabetes.

Your diabetes team should also tell you about living with diabetes. This includes:

  • getting flu jabs

  • telling you that you should see the optician and the dentist as often as people without diabetes

  • what benefits people with diabetes can get from the government

  • how other groups (such as charities) can help

  • the dangers of smoking when you have diabetes, and how to get help to stop smoking

  • how drugs (including alcohol) affect diabetes

  • making special plans if you want to do certain activities (such as scuba diving) or travel a long way (for example, when to eat and inject your insulin when you cross different time zones).

Younger children can find out more about living with diabetes on the Diabetes UK website.

Questions to ask about what you are taught

  • Can you tell me more about type 1 diabetes?

  • Can you tell me more about things I'll have to change in my life now I have type 1 diabetes?

  • Can you give me the contact details (such as a phone number) for the diabetes team?

  • Can you give me any information in another language?

  • Can you give my parents or carers any information?