Learning to Live with Type 1 Diabetes: Real Advice from Patients

“It’s made me healthier. It’s made me stronger.”

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The first advice you learned after your type 1 diabetes diagnosis probably came from your doc. Booklets and pamphlets on insulin management with type 1 diabetes and eating healthy with diabetes are super important, but when it comes to getting through your everyday life, sometimes the best advice comes from fellow type 1 diabetes patients.

Learning how to manage, or even embrace, your diabetes can make a world of difference.  “I didn’t want to let anything—especially something like type 1 diabetes—stand in the way of what I wanted to do for the rest of my life,” says Craig Kasper, a patient with type 1 diabetes.

For Kasper, thriving with diabetes meant framing his diagnosis as something he could use to his advantage. Here’s what advice three “seasoned veterans” with type 1 diabetes want to give to newly diagnosed patients.

Find your community

“Get involved in the community because together we provide strength and we provide knowledge to help everyone live the healthiest version of themselves possible.”

—Craig Kasper, diagnosed at age 27

Study up

“Learning is the most important thing. [Know] the basics, so you know how to take care of your diabetes and yourself, and [keep] on top of the advancements because there’s so much coming out so quickly today, whether it’s devices or medicine or even what’s considered most important in diabetes self-care. ”

—Riva Greenberg, diagnosed at age 18

Prepare for everything

“I always have to have a plan. I always have to know what I’m doing and what I’m preparing for, depending on my day. … If I’m on a train or subway and I start to have low blood sugar and a reaction, I’ve gotta have something.”

—Liz Van Voorhis, diagnosed at age 15

Learn tips for managing high and low blood sugar here.

A diagnosis of type 1 diabetes might feel overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to be (and it shouldn’t be) a negative part of your life. “I believe that you can have a great life, not despite diabetes, but because of it,” says Greenberg. “I know it’s made me healthier, it’s made me stronger, it’s made me more resilient, [and] it’s given me all kinds of blessings.”