Health Tip: When You're Diabetic and Sick

-- A common cold, flu or infection that is an inconvenience to many people can cause much more serious health problems in diabetics.

When you're sick, your body is under stress and releases hormones that can affect your blood sugar. So it's important to know how to take care of yourself.

Here are suggestions for diabetics on dealing with an illness, courtesy of the American Diabetes Association:

  • Closely monitor and regulate your blood sugar, which can fluctuate more than usual while you're sick.
  • Keep a notebook where you record your blood sugar and urine ketone levels.
  • Talk to your doctor to see if your medications need to be adjusted when you're sick. Have a plan ready ahead of time.
  • In advance of illness, prepare a list of contact names and phone numbers of your doctor, dietitian, and diabetes educator.
  • Know when you should call your doctor. For instance, if you've been sick for an extended period or can't get your blood sugar under control.

Posted: March 2008


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