January 25, 2000
Meal Planning, Food and Diet
Question from Pennsylvania, USA:
Just about 2 weeks ago I was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes. If I go to a party and I know they are having cake and ice cream, how will I know how much insulin to give myself? As of now, we still call the hospital every morning for how much I give myself, and I am worried when we stop calling, I won’t know how much to give myself regularly, let alone going to a party!
The exact amount of insulin you need to cover ice cream and cake (or baked potatoes, or bread or spaghetti or anything else with starch or sugar) depends on a lot of factors. My guess is that your doctor or educator at the hospital are trying to figure some of that out now by having you call in your blood sugars every day and adjusting your insulin. With their help, you will eventually be able to use blood test results to find out how much carbohydrate (starch or sugar) is covered by one unit of short-acting insulin. You can and should become the “world’s expert” on your own diabetes. Education and reading can help. Ask at the hospital whether they have a diabetes education program or whether there is one anywhere in your area. You might also want to get my book Diabetes 101 which is a good start on what you need to know to control diabetes for yourself. It’s published by John Wiley and Sons and is available on the Web at Amazon.com.
And don’t worry about the party. You’ll get there. Once your control is stable, the time will come to learn some of those “fancy tricks.”