Dealing With Diabetes When Sicknesses Arise
During an illness, it is more difficult to keep blood sugar in the target range. As a result, ‘ketoacidosis’ can develop with Type 1 diabetes, in particular. This can lead to a diabetic coma. A similar condition, called ‘hyperosmolar hyperglycemic nonketotic coma’ can develop in Type 2 diabetics. Both conditions can be fatal.
What Do I Do If I’m Sick?
Be proactive and prepare a sickness plan; and use the wisdom of your diabetes educator to plan out a strategy before you need one. If you don’t have a plan, as of yet, you’ll need to know:
- 1. when to call your doctor
- 2. how often you will need to measure your blood sugar and urine ketone
- 3. what medicines to take and not take
- 4. when to eat and what to eat
Additionally, attach a list of phone numbers of your doctor, diabetes educator and dietician. Be especially proactive by knowing how to reach them on weekends, evenings and holidays.
Call Your Diabetes Team When…
- 1. your sickness or fever has lasted a couple days and shows no signs of disappearing
- 2. vomiting or diarrhea has been persistent for 6 hours or more
- 3. you have moderate to large amounts of ketones in your urine
- 4. glucose levels are higher than 240 in spite of your having taken extra insulin as a sick-day plan would call for
- 5. you’ve taken pills for your diabetes and your blood sugar level climbs to more than 240 before meals and remains there beyond a 24-hour period
- 6. you have symptoms that could indicate something very serious such as difficulty breathing, lips and tongue becoming dry and cracked, fruity-smelling breath, etc.
- 7. you begin to feel, even remotely, disoriented and feel unsure about how to care for yourself
Know What You Need To Know!
- 1. Monitor your blood glucose level and urine ketones every 4 hours and jot down the results.
- 2. If it’s difficult to keep food down, don’t skip any prescribed medications! You need them since your body makes extra sugar when you are sick!
- 3. During your awake times, drink a minimum of 8 oz. of any caffeine-free/calorie-free liquid every hour, such as water and diet soft drinks. Additional fluids will help rid your body of extra sugar in your blood.
- 4. If it’s truly hard to keep food down, force yourself to drink ginger ale. You still require calories; and not eating enough could lead to low blood glucose. Some “easy to eat” foods should be on hand and attempted, such as regular gelatin, crackers, soups, and applesauce.
- 5. Other liquid-type foods that can come to your rescue include juice, frozen juice bars, sherbert, pudding, creamed soups, broth and fruit-flavored yogurt.
- 6. Be aware that many medicines can affect your blood sugar levels so ask a pharmacist about sugar-free medications. Aspirin, antibiotics and decongestants can raise or lower blood sugar levels; so again, it’s important to know the side-effects of these types of products before you ever become ill.
- Diabetes Symptoms & Causes (answers.com)
- Three Tips To Lower Your Risk For Diabetes: Dr. Mao’s Wellness Living (smmirror.com)
- If You’re Diabetic, You Should Never… (blackdoctor.org)
- 4 Diabetes Management Tips for Adults (epicahealth.com)