I started feeling sick a week ago on a Monday evening. I felt exhausted to drive home. I barely drove with enough energy to reach home and get into the leather couch in front of the television. I wished somebody to remove my shoes and cuddle me up with a blanket, and make some hot tea with lemon and honey. But, everybody was still at work and I did not want to move from where I was.
I attributed the tiredness to being on my feet all day at work. Watching some show, I dozed off for what it felt like an eternity before my son came home. I felt feverish, sore and itching in my throat as if I was about to cough. I asked for a cup of tea and fell asleep again before I got my cup. For the next few days I was in bed not moving an inch. Luckily, it was weekend and I didn't have to go to work for rest of next week. Eventually, my tiredness led to more coughing, fever, body pains and was worse by the middle of next week.
It is a well known fact that diabetics have to work harder than normal patients when they get sick in order to keep their sugars under control and get healthy fast. When diabetics, like me, get sick, the stress on our bodies contributes to not only out of range blood sugar levels, but also a suppressed immune system that could lead to more adverse effects like nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, dehydration, and production of ketone bodies in urine due to uncontrolled sugars in the blood.
When we get sick we do not eat proper food or drink enough fluids naturally. But for diabetics, skipping one thing or the other is not an options. Even though it is a natural tendency to not feel like keeping up with diet and nutrition, we need to be aware of our body's condition and blood sugar levels. It just doesn't seem fair that we have to keep an eye on our glucose numbers even though we are sick instead of just taking it easy on them. But the alternatives are not very good either.
Lack of activities, uneven timings for food intake, mental depression, irregular timings for medications could all lead to increased stress on the body. Diabetics need to understand that, rain or shine, we need to be religious about our routine diet and medications plans.
Eating too little food could make us hypoglycemic. Stress on the body could make the sugars to spike up. Here are some tips that are recommended for a diabetic to keep up with when sick:
1. take blood sugar levels every four hours once
2. try to keep sugar levels under 200mg/dl. at any given time
3. If sugar levels consistently go higher than 240mg/dl. for more than one day, take yourself to the doctor
4. eat small portions of food in order to keep up with blood sugars
5. drink at least a cup of water (8oz.) every hour in order to keep the body hydrated
6. type 1 diabetics might have to take smaller doses of insulin more often than regular times
7. take all the medications at regular timings - never skip a dose
8. make sure over-the-counter medications, such as antihisthamines, are sugarless
9. be aware of over-the-counter medications that can raise blood sugar levels
10. call your doctor immediately if :
a. blood sugars are higher than 240mg/dl.
b. vomiting or diarrhea persists more than one day
c. if a low grade fever persists or increases more than 100 degrees
d. inability to speak, move arms and legs, vision changes occur
e. type 1 diabetics check for ketones in urine with strip test
11. monitor and record blood glucose levels at least four to six times a day
Diet tips for diabetics who are sick:
1. drink a cup of water every hour
2. if high blood sugars, drink diet sodas, plain broths, water, tomato juices
3. if low blood sugars, drink small amounts of regular sodas, orange juice, apple juice, gatorade, water while monitoring blood glucose levels so you won't spike
4. eat small amounts of bagels, bread, cooked cereal, mashed potatoes, noodles, rice, crackers, jello-gelatin etc.
Most important thing to do when a diabetic gets sick is to get plenty of rest along with proper food, fluids, glucose monitoring, and doctor visits. For me, another key element in getting myself out of the bed is to keep myself away from stressful thoughts and keep my mind in peace because 'OUR LIFE MATTERS'.
Edited by Shannon Koehle