When you’re feeling under the weather, you may have a set of routines that you stick to in order to speed up the healing process. For many, simple things like drinking a lot of liquids and getting plenty of rest will do the trick.
For individuals diagnosed with diabetes, it is important to keep blood glucose levels within range to aid in the healing process.
Why Blood Glucose Levels Are Affected by Illness
When we’re sick, our bodies release hormones that aid in fighting illness. These hormones can help fight off infection, but can also affect insulin and glucose absorption. This can cause the amount of glucose in the bloodstream to increase.
Individuals diagnosed with diabetes should adhere to specific protocols while they are sick in order to help the healing process. The following guidelines can help keep blood glucose levels within range while ill.
Monitor Blood Glucose Levels Closely
The most important thing for individuals with diabetes to do when sick is to monitor blood glucose levels consistently throughout the day. If blood glucose levels are too high and there is no insulin to signal the cells to absorb the glucose, individuals can experience a condition called ketoacidosis. Ketoacidosis occurs when the body begins to break down fats for energy, producing acids, called ketones, as a byproduct that builds up in the blood. When the blood is acidic, it can affect the normal function of the organs.
Using an insulin pump can help achieve better glucose control while ill. Sharing blood glucose readings with your doctor can allow him/her help you understand blood glucose trends and help you improve blood glucose control. An insulin pump with integrated Continuous Glucose Monitoring (CGM) capability makes sharing your blood glucose and insulin delivery information with your provider easy. The CGM measures your blood glucose level every five minutes, and these values are stored on the insulin pump along with insulin dosing information. To share the information with your provider, you connect the insulin pump to a personal computer and upload all of the data together. Your provider can view the data remotely and make treatment adjustments if necessary.
Drinking liquids when sick helps replace fluids lost by fever and/or vomiting, and can prevent dehydration. For individuals with diabetes, it’s important to stay hydrated when sick. Fluids like broths and drinks with electrolytes can help prevent dehydration. Be sure to avoid fluids that contain sugar.
Know When to Call a Doctor
It is important to call your doctor if you:
- Have been sick or have had a fever for three or more days and your health is not improving
- Have ketones in your urine, as these are a sign of ketoacidosis
- Are vomiting or have diarrhea for more than six hours
- Have an above average blood glucose reading that you are unable to lower by taking insulin
If you are sick and unsure what to do, communicate with your doctor to avoid further health complications. Keep these tips in mind and you will be on the path to recovery in no time.