When us people with diabetes (PWD) get “real people sick”, such as a cold or flu or virus of some sort, having diabetes makes it much more complicated. Many PWD experience elevated blood sugar when they have some kind of illness. Even when not hungry enough to eat normally, the struggle to keep blood sugar in the “normal” range is exactly that. A struggle. And without the proper food intake plus high blood sugar, the possibility of ketones enters the picture. Ketones, for those who don’t know, are chemical substances produced when the body starts burning fat for energy instead of glucose. This can happen when the blood sugar is too high for the body to burn it properly. If severe enough, ketones become dangerous leading to possible coma or death. From just a cold or flu? Unfortunately, yes. Rare but it’s possible.
And then there is the opposite side of the spectrum. Not being able to eat and having low blood sugar. I think it’s common knowledge that to treat a low blood sugar, some kind of sugary or high carb food/drink is needed. Well when a PWD can’t eat or drink due to illness, that can lead to a situation needing medical attention.
Being sick flat out sucks for anyone. But it sucks for PWD just a wee bit more.
*Sorry for the bitter post …. but I’m currently sick in bed :p*
My birthday is coming up in less than 2 months and although I won’t say exactly how old I’ll be, I’ll just admit that I’m in my thirties heading toward a new age “bracket”. For some reason I am not at all looking forward to this new age bracket. I mean no one really likes getting older right? But I think I know why I am not happy about it. Not only is my body getting older, my diabetes is getting older too. I have been blessed so far with no major complications. After 29 years. I thank God every day for this. But it makes me wonder how long it can remain that way.
I definitely don’t feel as good, in general, as I used to. I feel more tired, worn out easier, achy in certain body parts, etc. I know that this gets more common with age and that other things come along with it. But that’s just the body aging part. It’s really the diabetes aging part that instills a great fear in me. I’m managing my diabetes better now than ever before (or at least trying) but that doesn’t mean damage hasn’t been done to my body. And it scares the hell out of me what that damage could possibly have lie ahead of me in the future.
I worry a lot about my heart. I’m not sure if that’s because it’s the one vital organ that keeps me alive. Or if because it’s one part of me that doesn’t get checked out often. I see my ophthalmologist twice a year, my endocrinologist and diabetes educator every 3 months, my gynecologist once a year, my gastroenterologist and dentist at least once a year, my podiatrist, dermatologist, orthopedist, allergist and otolaryngologist when necessary so I’m comfortable that all those parts of me are working properly. For the most part. And phew, that was a lot of ‘gists and ‘ologists! Especially for a thirty-something year old! But my heart is really only checked out when I have my annual physical exam that includes an EKG. Those have always been normal and I have no reason to believe that there is a problem with my heart. But I know that 29 years of diabetes can cause some issues with it. Or with anything for that matter. So as a birthday present for myself, this year I am going to add another ologist to my list … the cardiologist. Not my idea of a fun gift but even to just put my mind at ease. And that is something I can look forward to.
Getting older can be tough on the body. Getting older can be even tougher on diabetes. I’m hoping if I stay on top of things, I can impede those things I am most of afraid of. Really hoping.