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How to Manage Diabetes When You Are Ill

Updated on February 15, 2018

Diabetes Sick Day Management

Diabetes is a twenty four hours a day times seven days a week business. Even in normal circumstances where you are managing school, work or play it presents many unique opportunities in personal care management.

The normal every day life provides lots of opportunity to perfect your use of insulin, food and exercise but what happens when life throws you a curve ball?

What happens when you have diabetes and you become ill?

The challenges unfortunately become a little bit more complicated when a diabetic becomes ill. Whether its a common cold or flu, virus or infection or even a scheduled operation the management of diabetes never stops and it becomes increasingly difficult when you don't feel 100% to ensure that your diabetes stays on track.

The management process is also complicated by the existence of the virus or illness. Diabetes blood sugar control is often impacted by stress and a virus as an example of an illness adds to the stress of the body meaning that normal insulin and food management issues are suddenly altered.

The irony of diabetes management is when your blood sugars start to rise outside of normal guidelines it becomes more difficult for you to heal and it also has the potential to make you feel even worse than you probably do. Its a lot to manage when all you want to do is sleep so Ive compiled some tips to help manage your diabetes when you don't feel like managing yourself.

Diabetes Sick Day Management

Diabetes Sick Day Management
Diabetes Sick Day Management | Source

Top Tips for Managing Diabetes when Ill

1) Prepare before you even look like becoming ill

The best way to manage your diabetes when you become ill is to have a plan in place ready to action when the circumstances arise. The last thing you want to do even when you have a common cold is to try and think about what actions should be taking. Most probably all you will want to do is sleep.

Make the most of your normal healthy brain and consider the scenarios you are likely to be presented with when sick and document what actions you need to take

2) Talk to the health professionals about developing an insulin management plan

Illness does strange things to the human body and diabetics are no exception. Discuss with your health professional team, the different components you need to manage. This will include subjects like -

- What do I do to my insulin when I'm in bed all day and non-active?

- What insulin should I have when I don't want to eat?

- What do I do in the scenario where I'm nauseous and I cant eat both from a hypo, insulin and food management perspective?

- What do I eat when I don't feel like eating anything?

- How often do I need to blood test?

- How do i adjust my insulin when I start to become better?

3) Blood Test often

There are many reasons to blood test but when you are ill. For one, the illness has the potential to increase your insulin requirements or alternatively you may just require more because you are tucked up in bed. Alternatively if you are nauseous you may need to keep an eye on your blood sugars to make sure they haven't fallen into hypo territory. The final reason to test is because you are sick your hypo or high symptoms may just feel like your illness. Best to test and confirm blood sugars so you can manage accordingly

4) Carefully manage your insulin sick day management plan

By following the first two steps, you will have an insulin, food and hypo management plan. Act on them accordingly dependent on the results of your blood tests. if you are in any doubt whatever so ever go and see your Doctor.

5) Check for ketones

Ketones are a dangerous occurrence for diabetics in normal circumstances, but this is made worse when you are ill. If you test, either via a blood test or urine and find an increased level of ketones from your normal levels, consult your Doctors ASAP

6) Be Kind to yourself

The advice presented so far has been specifically to manage your diabetes however you also have to look after yourself. Gets lots of sleep, allow yourself to heal, if able eat nourishing wholefoods, chicken soup is always a good start

Look after yourself and get well soon

Diabetes Sick Day Management

© 2012 nicediabetes


Submit a Comment

  • profile image


    3 years ago

    Well put, sir, well put. I'll celnaitry make note of that.

  • KevinC9998 profile image


    6 years ago

    nicediabetes: What a great hub, it was well written and very informative! Hopefully this will educate some people who have been diagnosed already. Unfortunately, as you know, there are still millions of people who are unaware they even have this dreaded disease. Voted up an interesting. I wrote a hub about how I found out I had diabetes- Thanks, Kevin (Type 2)

  • profile image


    6 years ago

    excellent, people can conquer this stupid disease, check out one i have on diabetic neuropathy, it drives patents nuts


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