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What it means to have diabetes

Type 1 diabetes

People living with type 1 diabetes can do everything others can do.


In addition, people living with type 1 diabetes:


  • Have insulin every day. They will either inject insulin several times a day or use a pump to carry a trickle of insulin to the body through a small connection just beneath the skin.
  • Check their blood glucose levels (BGLs) many times each day. This is done by pricking a finger and placing a drop of blood on a test strip, checked by a pocket-sized meter. Some use a continuous glucose monitor, which follows BGLs at a place on the skin, where a shallow connection is implanted.
  • Count carbohydrates in foods they eat. Carbohydrates, in many foods including potatoes, bread, rice and sugar, are the body's main source of glucose and affect its BGLs. Counting carbohydrates helps to balance BGLs, measuring the impact of foods against insulin doses and considering other factors like physical activity, illness, growth spurts or feeling worried or stressed.


Our video explores signs, symptoms and what it might feel like when having a hypo. 

Type 2 diabetes

People living with type 2 diabetes often rely on managing their food and exercise to balance their blood glucose levels (BGLs) without any need for injections of insulin.

Like those with type 1, people with type 2 diabetes also often check their BGLs and count carbohydrates in food they eat.


In addition, those with type 2:

  • May use tablets to help reduce their BGLs.
  • Can sometimes be successful in slowing or stopping the symptoms of diabetes by making healthy choices in their food and exercise.
  • Can sometimes use injections of insulin to live well with diabetes, following a path similar to those with type 1.


Learn more about your blood glucose levels (BGLs)