I have had type 1 diabetes for nearly 20 years and I’ve faced many challenges over this time and learnt plenty about how to manage my diabetes in my everyday life. My passion for health and fitness has most recently made me adapt my diabetes control so that I can consistently train and race just as a non-diabetic would. Although the requirements to train 15-20hrs per week and race for up to 10hrs are particularly rigorous, the basics are simple and applicable to all diabetics.
I apply many little “rules” to my everyday diabetes life to help me keep my blood sugar levels stable but some of these “rules” are a little OCD! For everyone else I’ve broadly summarised these in the points below which can be applied to your everyday diabetes management.
- Test your bloody frequently – it is critical to know where your blood sugar levels are to effectively keep them stable throughout the day and especially when eating, insulin dosing and exercising. The use of a continuous glucose monitor provides an excellent monitoring tool and I find this to improve blood glucose control significantly.
- Don’t overreact to high and low blood sugar levels – it is important not to give too much insulin when treating high blood sugar levels as this increases the risk of stacking insulin and hypo-ing. You must give an insulin dose sufficient time to work (can be 1-2 hrs). Equally it is important to treat low blood sugar levels correctly and not over eat/drink (the dreaded hypo munchies) which then cause’s higher blood sugar levels.
- Maintain a consistent routine – I find that keeping a consistent routine really helps my diabetes control; meal timing would be the most important but when you sleep and when you exercise also impacts your insulin regime and thus your blood sugar levels.
- Avoid refined sugars and simple carbohydrates – If you can, just don’t eat refined sugars as they are not only more difficult to match with an insulin dose but they are not good for your general health and well being. Sugars are contained in many foods and drinks so you need to be really vigilant to avoid these, but the results are significant for your blood glucose control.
- Include low GI carbohydrates in your diet – Low GI carbohydrates form a large part of my diet and due to their longer absorption time which greatly assist with maintaining stable blood sugars post meals.
- Use exercise as part of your diabetes management – exercise is an excellent way to keep healthy and regular exercise may allow you to reduce your total daily insulin requirements which then reduces the risks of hypoglycemia by having less insulin in your system.
- Always be prepared – it doesn’t matter what you are doing you’ve always got to be diabetes prepared; blood testing kit, insulin, snacks and mobile phone are things I carry with me everywhere. Carrying these things can be annoying, especially when training, but it’s a small price to pay for being safe and able to look after yourself if something goes wrong which always happens at the worst time and place.
Although these are only simple tips they do have a big impact on my diabetes control and I hope they can provide similar positive responses for you.
These tips can also be found on the Tips Page for your future reference.
**The advice and information provided in this post is from the authors experience only and should not be used as medical treatment without consulting your doctor. Please refer to disclaimer.