Friday, September 11, 2009

Maintaining your blood sugar when you're sick

I was recently sick with either a very severe cold or the flu, and spent most of the time sleeping and/or completely miserable. I find it to be rather challenging to check my blood sugar when I'm that sick, but of course it's pretty important that you do so.

Getting sick used to be much more dangerous for type 1 diabetics, because meals and snacks were planned around insulin regimens, and skipping a meal or a snack could cause you to crash. Of course, if you have the flu, this could be extremely challenging, because everything you eat tends to come right back up again!

Luckily, with modern insulin regimens — i.e., either Lantus and Humalog or the pump — it is much easier to maintain your blood sugar when you're sick. The only thing that I've found is that when I eat significantly less for a day or two, I tend to need less Lantus until my calorie intake picks back up again. To deal with this, I backed my nighttime dose off by a couple of units while I was at my sickest. And of course, I didn't take any Humalog unless I was correcting or eating something, so I didn't have any problems with crashing while I was sick.

I actually think that with modern insulin regimens, high blood sugars are more problematic than lows when you're sick. If you've got the flu, you're already in danger of dehydration — then add in further dehydration caused by high blood sugar, and you're really in trouble. And since (at least in my experience) my blood sugar tends to run higher when my body is under a lot of physical stress, this is something I really have to watch.

Here are some tips for remembering to check your blood sugar when you're sick:

* Set a timer
* Test every time you take medicine
* Enlist a family member to help remind you
* Keep a written record of all BG test results and insulin doses while you're sick

What about you? Any tricks you've learned for maintaining your blood sugar while you're sick?

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