Type 1 diabetes: everyday confessions

It’s very hard to do things by the book all the time. While all advice is given for a reason, if you’ve got Type 1 diabetes you might take the occasional shortcut or use your diabetes as an excuse. And that’s just human nature.

We’ve done a quick run round of our Type 1 colleagues at Diabetes UK and we’ve got a collection of the things they’ve fessed up to when it comes to their diabetes. Do any sound familiar? What will you confess to?

Of course, we’ve got a comment from Libby, one of our clinical experts to flag up any possible risks. That’s us being responsible.

There’s no way I use a new lancet each time for blood tests. I really only do it when someone’s looking. 

Libby says: Using a lancet more than once makes it blunt, so it hurts more when you prick your finger. There’s a small risk of infection from using a lancet lots of times too.


I sometimes inject through my trousers.

Libby says: Insulin needles are so short now that injecting through your trousers can make a real difference on how deep your injection goes.

Your insulin should get to the fatty layer under your skin, but injecting through your trousers might mean it doesn’t get deep enough, so it doesn’t get absorbed properly. And that can upset your blood sugars.

I don’t eat the prescribed 15g of carbs when I’m low.
A whole packet of fruit pastilles is surprisingly easy to get through.

Libby says: It’s so easy to keep eating when you feel low, either because a hypo makes you really hungry, or because you want the hypo feelings to go away as quickly as possible. But having the whole packet of fruit pastilles is very likely to make you go too high later.

A while ago I had a terrible habit of leaving my pump at home.
I’d take it off for the shower and completely forget to put it back on.

Libby says: So easy to do, especially if you’re new to a pump. 

The pump only has short acting insulin in it, so once it’s disconnected your blood sugars are going to go up pretty quickly, as there’s no insulin working. You should really only disconnect your pump for about an hour.

I should keep my insulin in the fridge but I don’t.
It’s under my desk in front of a window.

Libby says: Insulin that’s in your pen is fine at room temperature, but it shouldn’t get too hot or else it won’t work properly, and that can upset your diabetes management. So it’s never a good idea to keep it by a window in the sun, near a radiator, in a car glovebox and places like these.

Spare insulin that’s not in your pen needs to stay in the fridge (but not the freezer) again to make sure it works effectively. 

I should order repeat prescriptions before I run out of test strips etc.

Libby says: Trying to get hold of insulin urgently can be tricky, as you can’t guarantee your local pharmacy will have it in stock.

Some pharmacies offer a service where if you register with them they will contact your GP to request your prescription and then you pick it up from them or they send it to you.

If I’m feeling lazy, sometimes I pretend to feel a hypo coming on so my mum brings me food and drink. Bad person!

Libby says:Treating a hypo when you’re blood sugars are at an OK level will only make you go high. If you’re hungry that’s fine of course, but you need to eat and inject.