Much of the treatment for diabetes happens far away from our office. It happens every time you make a decision to eat a piece of fruit instead of a piece of cake, every time you check your blood sugar and every time you take a 15-minute walk instead of turning on the television.
We know that living each day with diabetes can be a struggle, and we want to make sure you have the information and support you need. We encourage you to invest time in learning more about diabetes by making an appointment with one of our dietitians, diabetes educators or our group education class. Our care team will not only teach you the ins and outs of diabetes and what is happening inside your body, they will also help you create a plan to help you accomplish your health goals.
Diabetes mellitus is a chronic disease in which your body does not make enough insulin or it is not able to use the insulin it has correctly. It results in high blood sugar levels. If left untreated, high blood sugars over time can cause diabetes complications, such as problems with the eyes, kidneys, nerves and heart.
When you have diabetes, the stress of an illness, such as a cold or the flu, can raise your blood sugar. To manage your blood sugar levels when you are sick, follow these steps.
- Have a support system in place before you become ill. Everyone gets sick sometimes. Don't wait until you are sick to make a plan. If you think you don't feel like doing it now, you certainly won't if you're under the weather.
- Take your medicine. Always take your insulin as prescribed unless your blood sugar is running low and you have spoken with your healthcare provider. Keep taking oral medications as prescribed unless you are vomiting or have diarrhea.
- Drink water. Drink a lot of fluids, such as water, broth and other sugar-free beverages. Avoid alcohol and caffeinated beverages.
- Check blood sugar and ketones. If you take insulin, test your blood sugar as well as your urine or blood ketones every 2-4 hours and write them down. Call your healthcare provider if ketones are positive.
- Eat regularly. Eat or drink 45-60 grams of carbohydrates every 3-4 hours. Or, if you are unable to eat, drink 15 grams of carbohydrates every hour (for example, 4 oz. regular soda, ½ cup regular gelatin, 1-2 Popsicles, or 4 oz. regular Gatorade).
- Get help if needed.
- After you're well, go back to your regular daily plan. When you get better from a short-term illness (lasting 1-2 days), return to your normal eating plan and medication dosage.
When to call us
You will want to call your care provider at the Cray Diabetes Self-Management Center in the following situations. A doctor is on call 24/7 at 913-588-6022.
- Feel sick for more than 1-2 days.
- Have frequent urination or pain on urination.
- Can't eat regular foods for more than one day.
- Have moderate to large volume of urine or blood ketones.
- Have signs of infection, including redness, warmth, swelling, drainage, tenderness.
- Have a cough that produces thick, yellow or green secretions.
- Have dry mouth, fever, thirst, dry flushed skin, abdominal pain, rapid breathing.
- Have blood sugars consistently running above 250 mg/dl.
- Have vomiting and diarrhea lasting longer than 6 hours.
- Have any questions about how to care for yourself and control your diabetes while you are sick.
- Have questions about adjusting your insulin dosage.
- Have symptoms that get worse.
Have this information ready for your healthcare provider when you call:
- Length of time you have been sick
- Your temperature
- A list of your symptoms
- Diabetes medication (type, amount and time of insulin)
- Other medications you take and allergies
- Pharmacy phone number
- Test results (urine ketones, blood sugar)
- Date of birth (if leaving a message)