What Happens When You Get Ill?

Hello to all and a Happy New Year!

Hope you all had an excellent break away and are fully refreshed for the start of 2016. I spent mine celebrating in Edinburgh underneath the castle with Biffy Clyro!

I, unfortunately, have managed to pick up a rather disgusting cold to come back to work with! As you can imagine, not ideal – especially as I had grand ideas of getting back into the gym after 2 months out completely due to a very painful trapped nerve in my left leg/ bum cheek!

However, it does lead me on to quite a nice topic – what to do when you’re diabetic and get ill.

In essence, having good control of your diabetes doesn’t make you any more prone to common illnesses than anyone else walking down the street. Unfortunately it’s when glucose levels are high for a consistent period of time that complications can occur. Picking up infections can be easier as well as just feeling generally unwell.

Bacteria and viruses thrive when glucose levels are consistently above 10mmol/l and any illness can play havoc with your diabetes management, especially if it lasts for a number of days. Because of this, the white blood cells in your body will not be able to work as efficiently to remove bacteria – but if you manage to get your glucose back under control quickly then it can help with your recovery.

Sometimes no matter how hard you try things can go wrong and you can just get sick.

The advice on dealing with Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes differs so I’ll break it down separately.

Small disclaimer – I’m in no way qualified to actually give advice so always seek medical advice from your GP if you’re unsure, this is information I have collated from various well respected websites and articles.

Type 2 Diabetes

1) Check your blood glucose levels every 4-6 hours.

2) Continue your normal medication and insulin – however, if your levels remain high for more than 48 hours seek additional medical advice.

3) Continue to eat as normal.

4) Sickness and diarrhoea can cause dehydration – make sure you’re on top of this by replacing lost fluids with drinking plenty of clean fluids.

Type 1 Diabetes

1) Make sure you keep taking your insulin. This is critical.

2) Monitor your blood glucose levels every 2-4 hours.

3) If your blood glucose level is especially high, test for ketones – it’s apparently more common for Type 1 diabetics to develop ketoacidosis when sick. If glucose levels remain high and you have ketones in your urine – consult your doctor.

4) Continue to eat as normal. If you’re nauseous – try small amounts of carbohydrates hourly.

5) Sickness and diarrhoea can cause dehydration – make sure you’re on top of this by replacing t fluids with drinking plenty of clean fluids.

Hope this helps anyone over this winter period!

Ooooohhh and a little teaser – I’ll be putting up my first YouTube video this weekend….so eyes peeled! It’ll also be here on the blog for you all to see!


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Dan has been a Type 1 Diabetic since November 2011 and writes about his experiences living with two autoimmune conditions (Type 1 Diabetes and Ulcerative Colitis), nutrition, exercise and living an overall healthier life on his blog and via his social media platforms.

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