At last I have someone sending me some tips and tricks! Thanks Naomi!! Would love to hear from you, please send them in.
Let’s face it; diabetes can be an awkward condition to live with at the best of times, and a downright dangerous one at the worst, but just like anything in life it’s possible to make it easy-as with just a few simple tricks at your finger tips. It’s all in the know-how and the practice and once you’ve got down some of the basics, you’ll find some of these will come as second nature.
Of course, no one’s expecting you to learn everything immediately, but take some time and consider which of these tips you might want to make a go at, and which ones work for you. You may even discover you’ve already found out some of these on your own!
That being said, if you’ve come up with something we haven’t, then feel free to drop us an email or share it with us on the forums. After all, diabetes doesn’t have to be a lonely condition and sharing what we know and looking out for each other can make living with diabetes seem a whole lot simpler.
Basic Management and Control
You’ve heard it plenty of times from doctors and nurses, and probably from your parents too, but getting in control of your diabetes is a pretty big deal. If anything, it can save you a lot of trouble in your later years, but more than that it will help you live life to the fullest and, often, all that’s needed is a little bit of preparation. The rest will fall into place. Here’s a list for you to look over:
- Don’t ignore it. Take control – This is first on the list because it’s the most important. There are always going to be times when we feel like denying we have diabetes or ignoring the complications it causes, but the truth is you need to take control of your diabetes before it ends up controlling you. After all, it’s pretty hard to deny you have diabetes if you end up in the hospital due to poor management.
- Aim for routine – Most people (diabetes or no) can really benefit from keeping a daily routine, but for people with diabetes it just makes everything so much more manageable. You’ll find waking and sleeping, eating and snacking, studying and exercising at the same hours every day will add consistency to your blood levels, improve your mood and save you from any nasty surprises. But don’t be afraid to try new things!
- Keep your insulin and blood meter in an easily accessible place – In other words, store it in the place you are likely to use it. For most of us that usually means the kitchen or dining area, but if you’re flat-sharing or living on campus this might require a little more strategy and negotiation. If you’re pretty bad at remembering to take insulin or check your blood, then keeping everything in plain view is a great idea. And for people always on the run, try sourcing a spare meter and insulin pen to have in your bag at all times.
- Make blood checking part of your routine – Yes, it’s aggravating making the extra effort to take blood levels, but then you probably thought the same thing about brushing your teeth as a child. You brush them without thinking too much about it now don’t you? The same can become true for blood checks. At the very least, try to whip out your blood meter before every meal and you’ll soon make a very useful list of blood levels you and your doctor can work with. Not to mention; knowing what’s going on with your body from meal to meal is exceptionally useful!
- Keep a record – This follows in from number 2 above, because once you’ve gotten into the habit of checking your blood routinely, it’s a simple-as to make a note of it. Just keep that pen and paper in the same area as your blood meter or, better yet, try downloading a phone app that you can record in with a couple of clicks!
- Check the record yourself – That’s precisely what it’s there for. While it may seem like something only your doctor or nurse are interested in seeing, they don’t have to be the only ones adjusting your insulin. Circle numbers that seem strange to you and keep an eye on patterns. Many meters also allow you to upload your results to a computer so you can see those trends and make your own decisions. At the very least, this puts the power back into your hands and allows you to make confident, informed decisions
- Consider alternatives – There’s no rule stating that you must stick with the method of control you started with. When I was first diagnosed with diabetes I was part of the first generation to use insulin pens. Before that we were using syringes and our absurdly bulky like blood meters took a minute and a half to calculate. Now we have all sorts of insulin from mixed to long acting to fast acting, as well as pumps for people with super busy lifestyles. Add to that the newest range of pocket-sized, ultra fast meters and you’ll everything you need to find the type of control that works for you. Awesome.
- Be prepared – Much of management and control is simply about making sure you have everything in the right place at the right time. No matter who you are, if you’ve got diabetes then you’re going to have hypos and highs from time to time and they have that funny, little habit of striking at the most inappropriate of moments. Usually when out and about, and nowhere near a kitchen, am I right? However, keeping the basics nearby and on-hand will give you the confidence that if something does go wrong it’s just as simple as retrieving what you need to make it right again. Here’s a checklist of things to remember to keep in your bag at all times:
- An extra pen, needle and cartridge
- A meter
- A fast-acting source of sugar (dextrose, non-diet soft drinks, etc)
- A slow-acting source of carbohydrate (biscuits, banana, sandwich, etc)
- A mobile phone
- Money (for food or travel)