- Diabetes: Caring for Your Diabetes at Special Times Center
- Tips to Manage Blood Sugar
- Diabetes Travel Tips
- Take the Diabetes Quiz!
Diabetes is part of your life. You can learn how to take care of yourself and your diabetes when you're sick, when you're at work or school, when you travel, when you're thinking about having a baby or are pregnant, or when there's an emergency or natural disaster.
When You're Sick
Be prepared for illness. Make a plan ahead of time for sick days. Ask your health care team
- how often to check your blood glucose levels
- whether you should check for
ketones in your blood or urine
- whether you should change your usual dose of
your diabetes medicines
- what to eat and drink
- when to call your health care provider
Your health care team may recommend the following:
- Check your blood glucose level at least four times a day and write down
the results in your record book. Keep your results handy so you can report
results to your health care team.
- Keep taking your diabetes medicines, even if you're not able to eat.
- Drink at least 1 cup, or 8 ounces, of water or other calorie-free,
caffeine-free liquid every hour while you're awake.
- If you can't eat your
usual food, try eating or drinking any of the following:
Your health care provider may say you should call right away if
- your blood glucose levels are above 240 even though you've taken your
- your urine or blood ketone levels are
- you vomit more than once
- you have diarrhea for more than 6
- you have trouble breathing
- you have a high fever
- you can't think clearly or you feel sleepier than usual
You should call your health care provider if you have questions about taking care of yourself.
When You're at School or Work
Take care of your diabetes when you're at school or at work:
- Follow your meal plan.
- Take your medicines and check
your blood glucose as usual.
- Tell your teachers, friends, or close co-workers
about the signs of low blood glucose. You may need their help if your blood
glucose drops too low.
- Keep snacks nearby and carry some with you at all times
to treat low blood glucose.
- Tell your company nurse or school nurse that you have diabetes.
When You're Away From Home
These tips can help you take care of yourself when you're away from home:
- Follow your meal plan as much as possible when you eat out. Always carry a
snack with you in case you have to wait to be served.
- Limit your drinking of beer, wine, or other alcoholic beverages. Ask your
diabetes educator how much alcohol you can safely drink. Eat something when you
drink to prevent low blood glucose.
- If you're taking a long trip by car, check your blood glucose before driving.
Stop and check your blood glucose every 2 hours. Always carry snacks like fruit,
crackers, juice, or soft drinks in the car in case your blood glucose drops too
- Bring food for meals and snacks with you if you're traveling by plane.
- Carry your diabetes medicines and your blood testing supplies with you. Never
put them in your checked baggage.
- Ask your health care team how to adjust your medicines,
especially your insulin, if you're traveling across time zones.
- Take comfortable, well-fitting shoes on vacation. You'll probably be
more than usual, so you should take good care of your feet.
- If you're going to be away for a long time, ask your
doctor for a written prescription for your diabetes medicines and the name of a doctor in the place
you're going to visit.
- Don't count on buying extra supplies when you're traveling, especially if you're going to another country. Different countries use different kinds of diabetes medicines.
When There's an Emergency or Natural Disaster
Everyone with diabetes should be prepared for emergencies and natural disasters, such as power outages or hurricanes. Always have your disaster kit ready. Include everything you need to take care of your diabetes, such as
- a blood glucose meter, lancets, and testing strips
- your diabetes medicines
- a list of your prescription numbers
- if you take insulin—some insulin, syringes, and an insulated bag to keep
- if you take insulin or if recommended by your doctor—a
- glucose tablets and other foods or drinks to treat low blood glucose
- antibiotic cream or ointment
- a copy of your medical information, including a list
of your conditions, medicines, and recent lab test results
- phone numbers for the American Red Cross and other disaster relief organizations
You also might want to include some nonperishable food, such as canned or dried food, along with bottled water.
Check and update your kit at least twice a year.
When You're Planning a Pregnancy
Keeping your blood glucose near normal before and during pregnancy helps protect both you and your baby. Even before you become pregnant, your blood glucose should be close to the normal range.
Your health care team can work with you to get your blood glucose under control before you try to get pregnant. If you're already pregnant, see your doctor right away. It's not too late to bring your blood glucose close to normal so that you'll stay healthy during the rest of your pregnancy.
Your insulin needs may change when you're pregnant. Your doctor may want you to take more insulin and check your blood glucose more often. If you take diabetes pills, you'll take insulin instead when you're pregnant.
If you plan to have a baby,
- work with your health care team to get your blood glucose as close to the
normal range as possible before you get pregnant
- see a doctor who has experience in taking care of pregnant women with
- don't smoke, drink alcohol, or use harmful drugs
- follow the meal plan you get from your dietitian or diabetes educator to make sure you and your unborn baby have a healthy diet
Latest Diabetes News
Daily Health News
People Who Can Help You
- Your doctor. You may see your regular doctor for diabetes care or someone who has special training in caring for people with diabetes. A doctor with special training in diabetes is called an endocrinologist or diabetologist.
You'll talk with your doctor about what kind of medicines you need and how much you should take. You'll also agree on a target blood glucose range and blood pressure and cholesterol targets. Your doctor will do tests to be sure your blood glucose, blood pressure, and cholesterol are staying on track and you're staying healthy. Ask your doctor if you should take aspirin every day to help prevent heart disease.
- Your diabetes educator. A diabetes educator may be a nurse, a dietitian, or
another kind of health care worker. Diabetes educators teach you about
planning, diabetes medicines, physical activity, how to check your blood
glucose, and how to fit diabetes care into your everyday life. Be sure to ask
questions if you don't understand something.
- Your family and friends. Taking care of your diabetes is a daily job. You may
need help or support from your family or friends. You may want to bring a family
member or close friend with you when you visit your doctor or diabetes educator.
Taking good care of your diabetes can be a family affair!
- A counselor or mental health worker. You might feel sad about having diabetes or get tired of taking care of yourself. Or you might be having problems because of work, school, or family. If diabetes makes you feel sad or angry, or if you have other problems that worry you, you can talk with a counselor or mental health worker. Your doctor or diabetes educator can help you find a counselor.
Other Helpful Tips to Control Your Diabetes
- Follow your meal plan.
- Don't skip meals, especially if you've already taken
your insulin, because your blood glucose may go too low.
- See your doctor before starting a physical activity program.
- Check your blood glucose before, during, and after exercising. Don't
exercise when your blood
glucose is high and you have ketones in your blood or urine.
- Don't exercise right before you go to sleep because it could cause low blood glucose during the night.
Keep a daily record of
- your blood glucose numbers
- the times of the day you took your insulin
- the amount and type of insulin you took
- whether you had ketones in your urine
- Tell your doctor if you have low blood glucose often, especially at the same
time of the day or night several times in a row.
- Tell your doctor if you've passed out from low blood glucose.
- Ask your doctor about glucagon. Glucagon is a medicine that raises blood
glucose. If you pass out from low blood glucose, someone should call 911 and
give you a glucagon shot.
- Take your insulin, even if you are sick and have been throwing up. Ask your doctor about how to adjust your insulin dose based on your blood glucose test results.
When you travel
- take a special insulated bag to carry your insulin to keep it from freezing
or getting too hot
- bring extra supplies for taking insulin and testing your blood glucose in
case of loss or breakage
- ask your doctor for a letter saying that you have diabetes and need to carry supplies for taking insulin and testing blood glucose
SOURCE: National Diabetes Clearinghouse; NIDDK; "Taking Care of Your Diabetes at Special Times."
Health Solutions From Our Sponsors
Top Diabetes: Caring for Your Diabetes at Special Time Related Articles
Celebrities & DiabetesSee pictures of celebrities that have been diagnosed with type 1 or type 2 diabetes including Mary Tyler Moore, Salma Hayek, and Nick Jonas from The Jonas Brothers.
Diabetes Mgt in 10 Min.Learn 10 simple ways to better manage your diabetes. See tips for controlling blood sugar, diet and exercise and other helpful ideas that cut risk of complications for diabetics.
Diabetes (Type 1 and Type 2)Diabetes is a chronic condition characterized by high levels of sugar (glucose) in the blood. The two types of diabetes are referred to as type 1 (insulin dependent) and type 2 (non-insulin dependent). Symptoms of diabetes include increased urine output, thirst, hunger, and fatigue. Treatment of diabetes depends on the type.
Diabetes QuizTake the Diabetes Quiz and learn the causes, signs, symptoms, and types of this growing epidemic. What does diabetes have to do with obesity and diet? Learn about life as a diabetic.
Fatty Liver (NASH)
Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease or NASH occurs due to the accumulation of abnormal amounts of fat within the liver. Fatty liver most likely caused by obesity and diabetes.
Symptoms of fatty liver disease are primarily the complications of cirrhosis of the liver; and may include mental changes, liver cancer, the accumulation of fluid in the body (ascites, edema), and gastrointestinal bleeding.
Treatment for fatty liver includes avoiding certain foods and alcohol. Exercise, weight loss, bariatric surgery, and liver transplantation are treatments for fatty liver disease.
Glucose Tolerance TestThe oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT), or glucose tolerance test is a blood test used (not routinely however) to diagnose diabetes, and gestational diabetes. Information in regard to reliability of the oral glucose tolerance test is important, as some conditions (common cold), or food (caffeine), or lifestyle habits (smoking) may alter the results of the oral glucose tolerance test.
Hemoglobin A1c Test (HbA1c, A1c, Hb1c)Hemoglobin A1c or HbA1c is a protein on the surface of red blood cells. The HbA1c test is used to monitor blood sugar levels in people with type 1 and type 2 diabetes over time. Normal HbA1c levels are 6% or less. HbA1c levels can be affected by insulin use, fasting, glucose intake (oral or IV), or a combination of these and other factors. High hemoglobin A1c levels in the blood increases the risk of microvascular complications, for example, diabetic neuropathy, eye, and kidney disease.
Low Blood Sugar (Hypoglycemia)Low blood sugar, or hypoglycemia, is a syndrome in which a person's blood sugar is dangerously low. People with type 1 and type 2 diabetes are at risk for this condition. There are other diseases that can cause a person's blood sugar levels to go too low, for example, pancreatitis, Cushing's syndrome, and pancreatic cancer. Symptoms and signs that your blood sugar levels are too low include palpitations, trembling, intense hunger, sweating, nervousness, and weakness.
If your blood sugars become too low, use these nearby as a quick treatment table sugar, soda, juice, and glucose tablets.
Insulin Pump for DiabetesAn insulin pump is designed to deliver insulin directly to a patient with diabetes. They are about the size of a standard beeper. The pump is attached to under the skin (usually on the abdomen). The amount of insulin required will depend on lifestyle (exercise, sleep patterns, activity level, and diet).
Miscarriage is the medical term for the spontaneous loss of pregnancy from conception to 20 weeks gestation. Risk factors for a woman having a miscarriage include cigarette smoking, older maternal age, radiation exposure, previous miscarriage, maternal weight, illicit drug use, use of NSAIDs, and trauma or anatomical abnormalities to the uterus. There are five classified types of miscarriage: 1) threatened abortion; 2) incomplete abortion; 3) complete abortion; 4) missed abortion; and (5 septic abortion. While there are no specific treatments to stop a miscarriage, a woman's doctor may advise avoiding certain activities, bed rest, etc. If a woman believes she has had a miscarriage, she needs to seek prompt medical attention.
Pregnancy Planning (Tips)
Pregnancy planning is an important step in preparation for starting or expanding a family. Planning for a pregnancy includes taking prenatal vitamins, eating healthy for you and your baby, disease prevention (for both parents and baby) to prevent birth defects and infections, avoiding certain medications that may be harmful to your baby, how much weight gain is healthy exercise safety and pregnancy, travel during pregnancy.
Diabetes: What Raises and Lowers Your Blood Sugar Level?Want to lower your blood sugar? Learn to better control your glucose levels by preventing blood sugar spikes and swings to avoid neuropathy and other diabetes complications. Find foods that lower blood sugar, and identify foods and activities that raise high blood sugar risks.
Seniors Sex ProblemsIt's never too late to improve your sex life. Learn how to overcome common health conditions affecting those over 50 such as heart disease, diabetes, and arthritis in order to have a healthy sex life.
Staph Infection (Staphylococcus Aureus)
Staphylococcus or staph is a group of bacteria that can cause a multitude of diseases. Staph infections can cause illness directly by infection or indirectly by the toxins they produce. Symptoms and signs of a staph infection include redness, swelling, pain, and drainage of pus. Minor skin infections are treated with an antibiotic ointment, while more serious infections are treated with intravenous antibiotics.
Sugar QuizSugar lurks in surprising places. Take the Sugar Quiz to learn of the many ways sugar sneaks into your diet and see what you know about sugar and artificial sweeteners!
Diabetes Urine TestsUrine tests for individuals with diabetes is important to check for diabetes-related kidney disease and severe hypoglycemia. With proper monitoring of blood glucose levels, diabetic-kidney disease can be avoided.