The NDSS is administered by Diabetes Australia

Just diagnosed

Finding out you have type 1 diabetes can come as a shock! You might be feeling surprised, unsure, upset, angry, and confused. And that’s ok. It’s totally normal to feel a rollercoaster of emotions after being diagnosed with diabetes. 

Most people never forget the day they found out they had diabetes, and it often takes a while for it all to sink in. It’s common to feel worried about how this will change your life.

It takes time to figure out how to manage diabetes and fit it into your life. But with time, some help and patience, you start to manage it like a pro. Having diabetes won’t stop you living your best life and achieving your dreams.

Getting started

When you’re first diagnosed with diabetes, it’s helpful to focus on a few key things.

Start insulin treatment

The doctor or diabetes nurse practitioner will start your insulin treatment by injections or a pump. 

Insulin works like a key to unlock the cells so glucose can move into your cells. This will stop it from building up in your blood.  Your blood glucose levels will be lower, and you’ll start to feel better!

Begin the learning journey

Your diabetes team could be just one or all of these people – doctor, diabetes nurse practitioner, diabetes educator, dietitian and other diabetes health professionals. They’ll help you adjust and learn how to manage diabetes. This website also has lots of information to help you every step of the way! 

Take care of yourself

You and your family will need love and understanding as you adjust to life with diabetes. Be patient, take care of each other and reach out for help if you need it. 

You probably have a lot of questions! We’re here to help and support the information you get from your diabetes health professionals. 

Diabetes explained

A type 1 diabetes diagnosis can feel like a steep learning curve. If you take it step by step with the support of your diabetes health professionals, you can fit diabetes into your life in a way that suits you.

What is type 1 diabetes

You may have already met some diabetes health professionals who explained what diabetes is and how to manage it. It may have all been a blur, so here’s a reminder of the basics.

Type 1 diabetes isn’t related to diet and lifestyle.

Type 1 diabetes happens when your immune system stops your body from making insulin. We all need insulin because it helps glucose (a type of sugar) move from our blood into our cells for energy.  Insulin is like a key that unlocks the door so glucose can enter the cells.
The body turns carbohydrates (also known as carbs) from food and drinks into glucose, but without insulin, the glucose can’t get into the cells. 
This means the glucose builds up in your blood instead of going into your cells. When this happens, your body tries to get rid of the extra glucose by passing urine or peeing more often. 
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Perhaps you remember feeling really tired, thirsty and peeing a lot before you found out you had diabetes?
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To find energy for your cells, your body breaks down fat instead. This is why some people lose weight before they find out they have type 1 diabetes. 
At the same time, because the build-up of glucose in the blood is making you pee a lot, you can become dehydrated and lose important body fluids and salts. 
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When your body can only use fat for energy it makes an acid called ketones. Too many ketones in the blood can be toxic. 
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This can lead to diabetic ketoacidosis (or DKA for short). That’s a serious emergency and needs to be treated in the hospital.  

These symptoms usually appear quickly, over a few days or weeks and it’s common to end up in the hospital. Once your body gets some insulin, the cell’s doors open, the glucose will go into the cell to be used for energy, and you’ll feel a lot better!


You’ll probably remember the symptoms you had before you were diagnosed with diabetes.

These are some of the common ones:

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Losing weight
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Feeling really thirsty, and drinking more than usual
Peeing more often than usual
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Feeling tired and low on energy
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Feeling moody

Why did I get diabetes?

We’re not sure why some people get type 1 diabetes.

Researchers are always looking for new treatments and better ways to manage diabetes, and find a cure one day. Managing diabetes can be tricky, but it’s doable with the right tools and support. Your diabetes team and this website are here to give you the skills and confidence to understand and look after your type 1 diabetes.

The good news is that if you manage type 1 diabetes well, you can achieve your dreams and live a happy, healthy life.

Taking care of diabetes

Taking care of type 1 diabetes means using insulin to replace what your body can’t make anymore. You can get insulin from injections or an insulin pump. Your doctor, diabetes nurse practitioner or diabetes educator will help you figure out the best kind of insulin for you and how often you need it.

Besides using insulin, you’ll need to check your blood glucose levels often and learn to balance insulin, food, and exercise. Doing this every day helps keep your blood glucose levels where they should be. This keeps you feeling good now and lowers your chances of getting health problems later on.

I have diabetes, now what?

Your diabetes health professionals will help you:

Learn how to use insulin

Learn how to give insulin by injections or an insulin pump.

Monitor your blood glucose level

Learn how and when to monitor, and how use the the results to manage your diabetes.

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Understand low blood glucose levels 

Learn how to reduce the risk and manage low blood glucose levels (hypos).

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Learn how to balance

Learn how to balance food, insulin and blood glucose levels.

What to eat

Plan meals and snacks around physical activity.

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Count carbs

Learn how to count carbs in a healthy way.

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Manage sickness

Make your sick day action plan, so you know what to do if you’re unwell or not able to eat.

Fit diabetes into your life

So you can play sports, go to school, go to parties and live your best life.

Adjusting to life with diabetes

Being told you have diabetes can be a tough time for you and your whole family. Everything might seem strange and confusing, and you might have lots of different feelings. That’s totally normal!:

Adjusting to life with diabetes

Here are some feelings you and your family might have:

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It might feel like everything is happening in slow motion, and it’s hard to believe the news.

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The news is so big that you might think there’s been a mistake like the test results are wrong. When you don’t quite believe it, you might not want to do injections or finger pricks.

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You might want to blame someone, like the doctor or your family, and wonder why this happened to you.

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Saddness or depression

You might feel really sad or even depressed because life seems more complicated now.

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As you find out more about diabetes, some of these fears might go away.

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You might feel guilty and wonder if there’s something you could have done differently. But remember, there’s nothing you could have done to prevent diabetes.

You’re definitely not to blame. It’s normal to take a while to adjust. Talking to a friends and family, your diabetes team or psychologist will help you understand your feelings better.

Find more information about living with diabetes here

Top tips for adjusting to life with diabetes

Coping with the emotional waves after a diabetes diagnosis is important for your overall wellbeing. Adjusting to life with diabetes is an ongoing journey, and it’s super important to take care of yourself. These are some of the things others have found helpful:

Become a diabetes whiz

Become a diabetes whiz

Get to know the basics of diabetes – it’s the first step towards living your best life with diabetes. Take it slow and learn at your own pace. Your diabetes health professionals, this website and NDSS programs and services are a great place to start.

Check out the different pages within the diabetes youth zone. They are there for you to access anytime and to support you and your understanding of type 1 diabetes.

Learn from fellow travellers

Learn from fellow travellers

Other young people who have had diabetes for a while understand what it’s like and know a few tricks to make life easier. Sometimes just talking with people who get what you’re going through can help.

Go to the JRDF website to find out more about their support groups.

Make a game plan

Make a game plan

Make a diabetes plan, including how you’re feeling. Share it with your family and friends and your diabetes team. Gather information, connect with others living with diabetes, and plan for exercise and fun activities.

Talk to your team

All these ideas help you adjust to life with diabetes, but it also helps to check in with the diabetes team. Talk to your diabetes team like your paediatrician, endocrinologist, general practitioner (GP), diabetes educator, or dietitian. They’re there to support and help you every step of the way.

Write it down

Jotting down your thoughts in a journal can be a powerful way to process your emotions. You can keep it private or share it with someone you trust – it’s up to you!
Share with family and friends

Share with family and friends

Don’t go it alone! Share your feelings with family and friends. Managing diabetes is a big deal, and they’ll want to support you in any way they can.

Get help from a psychologuist

Get help from a psychologist

Talk to a psychologist familiar with diabetes if managing diabetes feels like too much. They can help you find ways to adjust to the changes in your life. Ask your diabetes health professionals if they know any psychologists who are good for helping young people with diabetes, or check out the Australian Psychological Society website at

Reach out

Reach out

Call the NDSS Helpline 1800 637 700 for information and ask to speak to a diabetes health professional for support.

Meet your support team

Taking care of diabetes is a team effort with you, your family, friends, classmates, and diabetes health professionals.

Along the journey there are many people who can help you, like:

Your family doctor (GP)

General practitioner (GP)

a diabetes expert doctor (endocrinologist)

Diabetes expert doctor (endocrinologist)

Children’s doctor (paediatrician)

Diabetes educator or diabetes nurse practitioner

Food expert (dietitian)

Eye expert (optometrist)

Eye doctor (ophthalmologist)

an exercise expert (exercise physiologist)

Exercise expert (exercise physiologist)

a foot expert (podiatrist)

Foot expert (podiatrist)

Counsellor, social worker, or psychologist