Here are some of the tips I have learnt as a type 1 diabetic, these may not work for you as everyone is different but hopefully you will find them interesting...
Planning - I am always planning, whether it be for a day out or just the day to day tasks. I have found the art of planning to be a lifesaver!
I usually plan for the worst case scenario. For example if there is a planned appointment then I will assume that it will take longer than expected, so pack an extra snack just in case I need it. This principle has worked for me. Touch wood, I haven't had a diabetic emergency where I required help from another person or ended up in hospital because of a hypo. This in part, I believe is because of planning. That is not to say that there won't be a problem, you can plan all you like and sometimes planning is just not enough. You can still be caught out but with the help of planning and technology, hopefully critical emergencies will be avoided.
- Always carry glucose sweets with you at all times, just in case of any hypos.
- Before going to bed...
- Check that sugar is available within easy reach, such as glucose sweets.
- Check blood test meter is ready to go. It is no good needing to do a test when there aren't any test strips or the lancing device isn't ready!
- A clock preferably with a timer facility, maybe just keep your mobile ready, sounds obvious but if you are in a hotel room then a clock isn't always available when you most need it. If you go hypo at night, make sure to set an alert for the next check on blood sugar levels, usually 10 minutes after having some glucose sweets. One can easily fall asleep or lose track of time, if it is at an unearthly hour!
Treating Hypos (low blood sugar levels)
- Follow the usual guidance issued to you for treating hypos.
- I have learnt to try to not over treat hypos. Of course this is all well and good when you are at home but practically when you are working or have things to do it is easy to over treat a hypo. You typically just want the problem to be corrected as soon as possible. The problem with this approach is that if you take too much sugar, the blood sugar levels will rocket up and you can get this very annoying seesaw effect where it becomes very challenging to keep the blood sugar levels stable.
- If I have gone hypo, I will usually try to find out why. Sometimes there isn't any obvious reason but sometimes there is. I will try to remember that for future reference. Of course no two days are the same, so I think some luck is involved as well!
High blood sugar levels
- Firstly the key is not to panic. I met someone once who panicked the minute their blood sugar levels went higher than expected, which of course made things worse.
- The action you take will depend on if you take insulin via injections or via an insulin pump. With the pump, if running a little high, usually one can give small corrections and observe what happens. If on injections then this is a real pain, literally, you'll either have to take some insulin or wait until your next dose. If you are doing more activity in the day then this needs to be taken into consideration.
- The pump has some drawbacks, if the high is unexpected then extra thought needs to be taken as to the reason why. It could just be that you need more insulin but it could also be that there is something wrong with the pump or infusion set. If it is a problem with the infusion set or pump then action will need to be taken quickly, since the user only has quick acting insulin on board. Therefore if that stops for any reason you can soon find yourself dealing with ketones, which is very unpleasant and dangerous.
- Diabetes UK - (https://www.diabetes.org.uk) - This is a great resource, full informative information.
- Abbott's FreeStyle Libre Website - (https://www.freestylelibre.co.uk) - Contains information on the Libre system.
- YouTube - (https://www.youtube.com) - I have found this particularly useful, you can see what other people with diabetes type 1 do and even get ideas that may help.
- Instagram - (https://www.instagram.com) - Similar to YouTube, I have found many people on here sharing their journey. My Instagram account is: "@anderst1d", feel free to follow!