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Why is insulin therapy for type 1 diabetes called Intensive Therapy (IT)?

Intensive therapy includes assessing your blood sugars, insulin doses, food, and exercise and making adjustments in your food, insulin dose and/or exercise to get blood sugars levels in your goal range.

It's called “Intensive” because you are focusing more on what is happening at each meal, making adjustments for blood sugar results, food and activity and before bed to make adjustments. Maybe it should have been called Flexible Insulin Therapy – which is less intimidating than the word Intensive and after all flexibility is the goal! Think of it as a complete program of diabetes management.

A little history

The term Intensive Therapy started with the Diabetes Control and Complications Trial (DCCT). This study compared usual diabetes treatment – called Conventional Therapy  –  to Intensive Therapy.

Conventional therapy is where people take a mixture of rapid, or short, acting insulin and intermediate acting insulin twice a day. Intensive Therapy consists of 3 or more injections a day, or the use of a pump to deliver insulin the way your body would if it could – rapid or short acting insulin with meals and intermediate or long acting insulin once or twice a day.