Even a mild cold can throw blood sugar levels off balance for people with type 1 diabetes. The body releases stress hormones. These unlock glucose stores, which raises blood sugar levels. Here are some things to watch out for and tips and tricks you can use to control this process.
When people without diabetes have a cold or flu, they usually take medications whenever they like. The situation is different for people with type 1 diabetes: in addition to the aspects mentioned above, many cold and flu medicines also contain sugar. Extra insulin is needed to deal with this. The amount of sugar in the medicine is usually shown on the package leaflet.
Constant measuring, checking and adjustments can make recovery difficult
To bring the rise in blood glucose caused by stress hormones into the target range and keep it there, the basal rate has to be adjusted. That can make it almost impossible for people to focus on getting better from illness, getting enough sleep and taking the medication they need. Glucose levels need to be monitored every two to three hours and corrective insulin must be given if necessary. If the symptoms include diarrhoea and vomiting, carbohydrates may not be absorbed and metabolised properly. That can lead to dangerous episodes of hypoglycaemia.
Modern insulin pumps, combined with sensors for continuous glucose measurement and sophisticated apps and algorithms, cannot yet deal with all this unaided, but they can make things easier. Features are now available that can be easily controlled via a mobile phone, automatically adjusting the insulin delivered over a specified period of time. Communication between the sensor, the app and the pump allows the app to control the insulin pump and raise or lower the insulin dose as required.
Smart products can help you to recover faster
The system has special features to respond to an illness more quickly and deliver more insulin at the right time, giving patients peace of mind so that they can quickly get back to their much-needed rest. People with type 1 diabetes who use these hybrid closed-loop systems can concentrate on making adjustments at mealtimes and changing the ampoules and batteries. The algorithm takes over most of the work of managing their treatment, giving the person time to rest and recover. People with type 1 diabetes need to avoid stress and concentrate on getting better.