When you have diabetes, you know you have to look after yourself and your condition at all times, which can be at school, while working, when travelling, when deciding to have a baby, when pregnant or during a tragedy or a natural catastrophe.
When Sickness Strikes You
Any sickness, be it an infection, the flu or a simple cold, can cause your blood sugar levels to rise. If it ever reach exceedingly high, severe health problems culminating in a coma can be the result.
To be fore-armed with knowledge on how you can be in control in times of sickness is the best way to be prepared for sickness. Find out from the health care team.
- How often do you need to test your blood sugar levels.
- Whether you have to test your urine or blood for ketones.
- Whether theÂ usual dosage of your medicines has to be changed.
- Â The recommended foods and drinks.
- When to seek the assistance of your health care team.
This is what your health care team may advise:
- Test your blood sugar level a minimum of four times each day and record the results in a book. Have your record available to your health care team.
- Continue with your diabetes medicines, although you have no appetite.
- Drink one cup, or 8 ounces, if not more, of water or liquids which are either caffeine-free or calorie-free every hour you are not asleep.
If you are unable to consume the usual food, try consuming any of the food given below:
- Saltine crackers
- Dry toast
- Bouillon or broth
- Sherbet or popsicles
- Regular gelatin (which do contain sugar)
- Regular soda (which do contain sugar)
Your health care provider most probably advise you to call immediately if
- your blood sugar levels are higher than 240 although your diabetes medicines have just been taken.
- your blood or urine ketone levels stay higher than normal.
- you have vomited at least twice.
- you suffer from diarrhea for at least seven hours.
- you have difficulty in breathing.
- your temperature is too high.
- you are confused or you are more drowsy than usual.
You ought to consult your health care provider if you still are uncertain about caring for yourself.
Improving Diabetes Care -Video Guide
When at Work or School
When you are at work or at school, you can look after your diabetes by:
- Following your diabetes meal plan.
- Testing your blood sugar and taking your medicine according to your usual schedule.
- Inform your colleagues, or your friends and teachers, about your condition and the symptoms of low blood sugar. Their help may be needed should your blood sugar falls too low.
- Making sure there are snacks available and take them with you wherever you go to keep low blood sugar at bay.
- Informing the nurse at the school or the workplace that you are a diabetic.
When Travelling or Far From Home
Below are some tips to help you look after yourself during those times when you have to travel or are far from home.
- Although you are away from home, you should still try to eat according to your meal plan.
- Find out from your diabetes educator the amount of alcohol that is safe for you to drink and use that knowledge to limit your intake of alcoholic beverages, wine and beer. In order to avoid low blood sugar after your drink, eat something.
- Test your blood sugar level before any long distance driving. Stop someplace after two hours to test your blood sugar again. Repeat the process until you reach your destination. Remember to be prepared for any drop in your blood sugar level by having snacks such as soft drinks, juice, crackers, or fruit with you.
- When traveling by place, you have to make sure that you have food for snacks and meals.
- Always take along with you the supplies you need for blood testing and your medicines. Never leave them inside your checked luggage.
- From your health care team, find out how your medications, specifically your insulin, can be adjusted when you are moving from one time zone to another. When you are on vacation, and there is a lot of walking involved, make sure your feet are well taken care of by taking along well-fitting, comfortable shoes.
- If you are planning to be away from home for some time, request for a written prescription as well as the name of a doctor at your destination so that there is someone to turn to, to get your required diabetes medicines.
- However, it may be difficult to buy more diabetes medicines when you will be in another country since the country of your destination may not have the kind of diabetes medicines that you want
When a Natural Disaster or an Emergency Occurs
All diabetics must be ready for natural disasters and emergencies, including storms and power failures. Be prepared with a disaster kit which contains everything necessary for your diabetes care, like
- Testing strips, lancets and a blood glucose meter.
- Diabetes medicines which you need.
- A list on which your prescription numbers are written.
- Syringes, some insulin, as well as an insulated bag to make sure your insulin stays cool.
- A glucagon kit if advised by the doctor or if you use insulin.
- Glucose tablets as well as other drinks and foods for the treatment of low blood sugar.
- Ointment or antibiotic cream.
- All medical information, such as a record of your health problems, the results of the latest lab tests, and medicines being used.
- The contact numbers of disaster relief organizations and the American Red Cross.
- Certain non-perishable food, like dried or canned food and bottled water.
Make sure that your kit is checked and certain items are replaced or replenished at least once in six months.
When You Wish to be Pregnant
Having blood sugar levels as close to the normal range as possible, before as well as during pregnancy, is important for the protection of both mother and child. Remember that your blood sugar ought to be near normal range even before you conceive.
Work together with your health care team to ensure you have good control over your blood sugar before attempting to get pregnant. However, if pregnancy have taken place, get to your doctor immediately so that he can help you get your blood sugar almost within its normal range in order to remain healthy throughout the pregnancy.
There may be a change in insulin requirement during pregnancy. You may need to use more insulin and monitor your blood sugar more frequently. If you have been taking diabetes pills, you may have to take insulin during your pregnancy.
If you have plans for a baby,
- Get the help of your health care team to bring your blood sugar as near to normal as possible before your pregnancy.
- Consult a doctor experienced in caring for diabetic pregnant women.
- Don’t use dangerous drugs, drink alcohol or smoke.
- Make certain the diet you follow is healthy for you and the fetus by following the meal plan which has been given you by your diabetes educator or dietitian.
Have your kidney, blood pressure, heart and blood vessels, and eyes checked. Nerve damage is another complication to look out for; so get your doctor to check for it, since health problems can worsen during pregnancy.