Managing Diabetes and Illness
Everyone dreads the idea of getting sick, no matter if it is a simple cold or something worse, such as the flu. But for someone that is diabetic, even something as non-threatening as a cold can be dangerous. When the body is sick, it tends to produce extra glucose as glucagon and this, in turn, will cause the blood sugar levels to go up. This, of course, is harmful to those with diabetes and bring on other medical concerns that can be life threatening. One of the most important things for a diabetic to do when they are sick is to check their levels of blood sugar more often to determine if they need to make changes in the amount they are taking.
The big question becomes just how often you should be taking your blood sugar levels when you are sick and not feeling well. Your levels may change sporadically throughout the day while you are sick. They may even jump around while you are sleeping as well. It is important to check them frequently, even once an hour, just to be on the safe side. If you find that at any time your levels go over 300 mg/dl, it is a warning that you need to check your blood and your urine for ketones as well. For those that are type 2 diabetic, a major concern is HHS, also known as hyperosmolar hyperglycemic state. This can lead to death if not treated quickly.
Being sick can often mean that your appetite is affected as well. It may be hard for you to keep food down or may not feel like eating at all. However by not eating and or drinking, you are risking low blood sugar levels which can have many different side effects. You can have confusion, hunger, palpitations, shakiness, and possibly even a coma. If you find yourself not eating the way that you should, you may have to increase the amount of insulin or oral medication that you are taking in order to counteract the changes in your blood sugar levels.
When finding that you can drink but not eat, try going for something that is going to have some carbs in it and even some sugar. This can help to keep your blood sugar levels normal. You also have to be conscious of medications that are over the counter. Many of these medicines contain sugar as an ingredient and that can have an adverse affect on your blood sugar levels. It can be hard to know just when you should contact your doctor during a time that you are sick when you are diabetic. One of the best things that you can do is to speak with your doctor before you ever become ill so that you can get a game plan together.
Once you become sick and if you find that your blood sugar levels are not easy to control and you have symptoms such as loss of appetite or diarrhea, contact your doctor right away.
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