Managing diabetes is key to ensuring your blood glucose levels are kept under control. However dealing with everyday life can impact on you successfully managing your diabetes. Feeling unwell, stress, family changes, anxiety and depression can affect how you feel. Then add to that factors like being ill or looking after someone else who is ill, it is likely that in some stage of living with diabetes you will not manage as well as you normally do.
Changing your Lifestyleview fact
Living with type 1 diabetes means this word will affect you on a regular basis. I was told when I was first diagnosed that if you keep your levels between 5-7 then you will have the odd hypo and as long as you know how to manage it, it should not affect your routine.
Read more on Hypos
The odd hyper will not affect your long term health. However if you are not able to manage your levels well then living with hypers will be very common. This may mean hospital stays and not being able to do what you would consider normal things.
Read more on Hypers
Illnessview factEven 'normal' illnesses like colds and flu can cause problems when you have diabetes. If you can't eat, or are vomiting, it may be hard to keep blood sugar up. Some points to remember:
- Test blood glucose levels more often
- With Type 1 diabetes, if blood glucose levels are over 15mmol/l or more, test for ketones.
- Continue to take insulin or diabetes medication and adjust the dose in response to test results & food taken.
- Drink plenty of sugar free drinks – water is the best.
- If being sick, take carbohydrate containing drinks such as milk and other milky drinks, fruit juice or sugary drinks such as Lucozade.
- If able to eat but have no appetite, eat little and often.
Contact your GP or diabetic team if your blood glucose levels are continuously high, ketones in blood or urine, vomiting or diarrhoea for long periods or if you are unsure what to do. Your GP will be happy to see you if you are unsure.
It is hard for anyone under going any type of surgery, but it can be particularly hard for those of us with diabetes. Coping with having anaesthetic and not being in control can be a huge worry. The key is to plan, the only time I have had surgery since being diagnosed with type 1 was when I was having my little boy. I was lucky as the c-section had been planned for months so I new what to expect, here are a few things that might help you get through it (if the surgery is planned!):
1. Speak with your diabetic team. They will help you get your levels under control now so there is less chance of complications. They will also be able to give you a idea of what you can expect your levels to do after the operation. Having a baby is slightly different than other operations as my insulin requirements had already gone up so I new as soon the baby was born my insulin requirements would go down.
2. Talk to the anaesthesiologist. How long the procedure will take will be a big influence in what the anaesthesiologist will do. They will usually put a drip of saline and insulin in your hand. This should help with controlling your levels and will be kept in until you are able to eat properly.
3. Try to be the first in the operating theatre. The doctor should try and schedule your surgery first, this will help you plan your insulin requirements. You should be able to have your normal insulin routine up until the night before, depending on how long you should not eat for. If you talk to your diabetic team they should be able to help you through this.
4. Plan your overnight bag. Even if you think you are not staying always plan for an over night stay. Ensure you have enough medication and hypo stoppers (lucozade sweets etc)
We all live a very hectic life and deal with stress on a daily basis. However people with diabetes should try and keep this to a minimum (easier said than done!). Stress can cause you sugar levels to increase, stress comes from two main places: external sources, such as demanding jobs, problematic relationships and financial problems; and internal sources: how we perceive and respond to these and other events.
When you are under stress, your body works overtime to help you cope. One of the ways it does this is to release hormones such as epinephrine and adrenaline, both which give you added energy and concentration. But, in addition to the hormones, your body also releases glucose from your liver, muscles and stored fat reserves. This bodily response to stress is called the "fight or flight" response. For example, if you needed to fight off or run away from a snarling dog, these hormones and extra glucose would give you an enhanced ability to do so. In the process of running or fighting the dog you would use up the hormones and glucose and your body would quickly regain an internal balance.
Long term stress is not healthy for anyone but can be problematic for people with diabetes because you do not need the additional glucose being continually released into your bloodstream. This could cause long term damage, anyone going through a very stressful time should keep a close eye on their levels and consult your doctor to make sure your medication does not need changing.
You often hear about ketones and if you have high sugar levels you could get ketoacidosis, but what is it?
Read more on Ketones
Food and Dietview fact
Diet is extremely important when managing your diabetes, whether you have type 1 or type 2 ensuring you eat a healthy well balanced diet is an essential. Eat at regular times.
To help you monitor your diet and glucose levels use Diabetic Friends food database and diary either online or via the DF Diary app. This will help you carb count or just help you watch your calorie and fat intake.
Diabetic eye disease (retinopathy) can affect anyone who has diabetes, whether they are being treated with insulin, tablets or diet only. Generally, people don't notice any signs of retinopathy until it is well advanced. This is why yearly eye examinations are so important for everyone with diabetes. Early detection is the key to successful treatment.
Read more on our Key Facts Page (link to Diabetes and your Eyes on the key facts page)