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  • Q&A with Australian Health Practitioners

    What is the treatment for type 1 diabetes?

  • Find a professional to answer your question

  • Diabetes Australia is the national peak body for diabetes in Australia providing a single, powerful, collective voice for people living with diabetes, their families and … View Profile

    At this stage there is no cure for type 1 diabetes, however the condition can be managed effectively. Researchers throughout the world are working on a cure.
    Type 1 diabetes is managed with insulin replacement through lifelong insulin injections (up to 6 every day), by following a healthy diet and eating plan, taking regular exercise and monitoring of blood glucose levels regularly (up to 6 times every day or as directed by a doctor or Credentialled Diabetes Educator).

  • Carolien Koreneff

    Counsellor, Credentialled Diabetes Educator (CDE), Diabetes Educator, Psychotherapist, Registered Nurse

    Carolien Koreneff is a Somatic (body-oriented) psychotherapist, Health Coach, Counsellor as well as a Credentialed Diabetes Educator with over 20 years experience. She currently sees … View Profile

    The treatment for type 1 diabetes is insulin injections. In type 1 diabetes the body is unable to produce (enough) insulin and so we need to replace what the body can longer produce.  Insulin is broken down by the stomach and hence tablets are not an option. (The tablets that are used in people with type 2 diabetes do not contain insulin but agents that will affect the glucose metabolism or that stimulate the pancreas to make more insulin, they generally do not work for people with type 1 diabetes)
    Insulin can be given one or more times per day. People with type 1 diabetes generally need a longeracting insulin once per day to provide the body with a baseline amount of insulin, and a short- or rapid-acting insulin 3 or more times per day to cover them for the main meals. Most people will not need insulin injections for snacks as the longeracting insulin can usually handle the glucose that will enter the body after a snack.
    There are premixed insulins on the market which can be given 1-3 times daily, but in my experience these insulins can limit the person with type 1 diabetes in their lifestyle as these insulins need to be given at specific times with meals and exercise being quite regimented. 
    I appreciate that people like to minimise the number of injections that are required to be taken, but I think that overall quality of life is an important factor. Having a regimen of the 2 insulins and around 4-6 injections per day does give one more flexibility as your CDE or doctor can teach you how to adjust the dosages according to what you are eating, doing etc. This will give you the opportunity to “splurge” from time to time, to have a sleep in once in a while and most importantly to achieve good glycaemic control without an increased risk of hypoglycaemia.

    I hope this answers your question. Please let me know if you would like me to elaborate on any of this.

  • 1


    Personally experienced diabetes and coeliac dietitian. Marchini Nutrition is a dietitian service set up to help those with or at risk of diabetes and coeliac … View Profile

    Treatment for type 1 diabetes definitely involves providing the insulin that is not being produced by the pancreas.  It's also about learning to think like a pancreas.
    I have had type 1 diabetes for 34 years now, and I believe that, although providing required insulin remains true for all people with type 1 diabetes, the actual methods used depend on the individual. This is why it is important that all people with type 1 diiabetes have a close relationship with their endocrinologist and diabetes team members.
    Of course you'll need to learn how carbohydrates, exercise, emotions, health and other life issues will affect your blood glucose levels and how best to manage these, which your diabetes team will help with.
    I believe that having diabetes has provided me with many ‘life’ strengths and certainly I enjoy an excellent quality of life, but I also work to enjoy a healthy diet and plenty of physical exercise.
    I like to think that ‘Maybe it’s not always about trying to fix something broken… Maybe it's about starting over and creating something better'. I hope that helps.

  • Denise Burbidge

    Dietitian, Nutritionist

    Denise is an Accredited Practising Dietitian working in private practice in Melbourne, and consulting to aged care facilities throughout Victoria. Denise has a particular interest … View Profile

    While the primary treatment for type 1 diabetes is taking insulin via injections or pump (due to the body's pancreas no longer producing adequate insulin) there are other important aspects that assist in optimal treatment. This includes regularly testing blood glucose (or sugar) levels and learning to adjust insulin doses to lifestyle factors such as food intake and exercise habits.

    From a dietary perpsective some of the key considerations are as follows:

    • adjust insulin to carbohydrate intake (many people learn this through concept known as carbohydrate counting, the DAFNE program or pumping with pens program)
    • Control caloric intake & understand healthy portion sizes
    • Reduce total and saturated fat intake (as diabetes is linked to higher risk of heart disease)
    • Decrease added sugar in diet (although you do not have to follow a no sugar diet anymore)
    • Where possible select low GI/high fibre carbohydrate sources for sustained energy release and more balanced blood glucose response
    For everyone with type 1 diabetes a consultation with an Accredied Practising Dietitian is strongly encouraged to assist in optimising blood sugar levels and better understanding the relationship between insulin and carbohydrates.


  • Dr Stephen Leow

    HealthShare Member

    Type 1 Diabetes is a condition in which there is a lack of insulin, a hormone secreted by the pancreas. The insulin controls blood glucose and that is why diabetics have high blood glucose. The insulin is replaced by injectable insulin (insulin is a protein and is digested by the gut). Although the treatment of Type 1 Diabetes primarily involves Insulin replacement, there are also other aspects to controling the blood glucose and treatment of the consequences of hogh blood glucose.

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