As the individual with type 1 diabetes has to make a decision about his/her mealtime insulin doses at every single meal/snack, it is important that he/she is equipped with the knowledge and skills for self-management.

This would include knowing how to deal with situations like:

  1. Hypoglycaemia
  2. Sick days
  3. Diabetes and exercise
  4. Diabetes and alcohol consumption

”Most individuals with type 1 diabetes spend only a sum total of 4 hours on healthcare professional encounters per year. The rest of the time, they are left to self-manage and make decisions on a daily basis, 24 hours of the day. Knowing how to self-manage proficiently becomes crucial,” says ​Dr Daphne Su-Lyn Gardner, Consultant, Department of Endocrinology, Singapore General Hospital, a member of the SingHealth​ group.

How to self-manage type 1 diabetes well

In order to effect self-management well, the person with type 1 diabetes needs to know:

  1. What blood glucose targets they ought to aim for pre-meals
  2. How their insulin works to lower their blood glucose level
  3. The carbohydrate content of their food and the amount of quick-acting insulin required to cover this

This is because carbohydrates are the main macronutrient that result in increased glucose levels post-meals. Hence, knowing exactly how much carbohydrates are in each meal becomes important for deciding on the mealtime quick-acting insulin dose.

SgDAFNE (Dose Adjustment For Normal Eating)

At Singapore General Hospital, we conduct a structured education programme in both self-management and advanced carbohydrate counting known as the SgDAFNE (Dose Adjustment For Normal Eating) course. We are currently the only centre in Asia that runs this programme. This course is accessible to all those with type 1 diabetes.

See next page for a type 1 diabetes health checklist​.

Ref: O17