All type 1 diabetics need to see a dietician so that correct and healthy eating patterns can be implemented. Healthy eating implies a high-fibre, low-saturated-fat diet, which limits high-cholesterol foods and snacks, and which includes lean protein from fish, poultry and legumes.
Apart from providing guidelines on what to eat, a dietician can also help to establish the amount of kilojoules required in the diet, and can help teach the diabetic how to do carbohydrate counting.
As smoking can have a dramatic impact on cardiovascular health, diabetics are strongly urged to stop smoking. Doctors can provide guidance in terms of smoking-cessation aids, such as nicotine replacement therapy (patches, inhalers, gum) and/or prescription medication in the form of Zyban.
Alternatively, the National Council Against Smoking's Quit Line (011 720 3145) can provide assistance.
Reviewed by Dr Suresh Rajpaul (MbChB, FCPsa)