Diabetes and Real Life IssuesWhen it comes to diabetes versus real life, thereís no denying that sometimes diabetes makes things other teens take for granted more difficult for you. Are you up for a challenge? In most cases youíve got a green light to do what you want to do, as long as you always remember how important it is to also keep your diabetes under control.
Whatís your real life issue? Diabetes and...
Saying no to peer pressure
Diabetes and driving
Youíre finally old enough to get your driverís license. But can you safely drive with diabetes? YES, if you follow these tips:
- Ask your doctor what blood glucose levels are safe for driving.
- Donít drive with low blood glucose: Check your level before getting into the car. If itís low, wait until youíre safe to drive.
- Pull over: if you feel low or to check your blood glucose. Keep snacks in the glove compartment for when you need them.
Diabetes and dating
Does the new love of your life need to know about your diabetes? Thatís a tough decision thatís totally up to you. It may be easier to tell him or her if youíre going to need to:
- Stick to your meal plan while out on a date.
- Check your blood glucose level or take a shot while youíre out.
- Explain your behavior if you become hypoglycemic.
Diabetes and your job
Whether youíre starting your dream job, or a part time job for spending money, diabetes shouldnít stand in your way. Remember itís always better to be open and honest with your employer and colleagues about your diabetes. Hereís how:
- Assure your employer youíre not going to ask for special treatment or take more sick days. You can back this up by pointing out your excellent school attendance.
- You can describe your good diabetes management as a personal strength or asset because it shows youíre responsible and not afraid to tackle challenges.
- Find a good place at work to take your insulin and do your blood glucose testing. Your employer may prefer you to do this in private.
- Always bring a snack to work and donít skip your meal breaks.
- Ask your diabetes healthcare team to adjust your diabetes management if a new job means changes to your usual schedule.
Diabetes and traveling
If youíve got a school trip, family vacation or traveling adventure planned be sure to:
- Keep your medication, meter and supplies in your carry-on luggage so itís always handy when you need it (donít check it in a suitcase).
- Keep testing your blood glucose regularly and following your meal plan.
- Check online before you go to find out if youíll be able to buy extra diabetes supplies where youíre going. If not, pack extra.
- Ask your healthcare team to help you create a personalized plan for managing your diabetes while traveling.
Diabetes and exercising
Exercise is an important part of diabetes management. Strenuous physical activity can affect your blood sugar level for up to 24 hours. Plus the more muscle you have, the more sugar your body will use. Everything counts too, whether you take the dog for a walk or play an hour of hockey. Remember to pay attention to your blood sugar while youíre exercising though:
- Stop and check your blood glucose if you feel like it might be low or high. Take a break until you feel better.
- Notice patterns. If working out always causes low blood sugar, you may need to have a snack beforehand.
- Make sure your coach, instructor, trainer, or exercise buddy knows about your diabetes so they can help you if you need it.
Diabetes and food
Healthy eating is part of diabetes management. Your diabetes educator or nutritionist will help set you up on a meal plan that will help keep your blood sugar in your target range. Itís important to stick with it.
- Eating disorders such as anorexia nervosa (severely limiting food intake) and bulimia nervosa (binging and purging) have serious health risks for teens with diabetes. Talk to anyone on your diabetes health team immediately if you feel you are developing issues with food.
- Never try to manipulate your insulin to lose weight faster. This keeps your insulin levels so high you may wind up in the hospital.
Diabetes and alcohol
- Alcohol can lower your blood glucose.
- Sugary mixers can raise your blood glucose.
- When youíve been drinking itís hard to tell if youíre hypoglycemic.
- If youíre visibly hypoglycemic and acting strange, your friends might just think youíre drunk and fail to help you.
Diabetes and drugs
As you know, drugs are dangerous, unhealthy, addictive and illegal. Everyone including those with diabetes should stay far away from drugs.
- Some drugs lower blood glucose and others raise it.
- Drugs can have very unpredictable effects.
- Itís hard to tell if someone is hypoglycemic if theyíve been doing drugs.
Diabetes and smoking
Youíve probably heard it 100 times, but smoking is extremely bad for you.
- Having diabetes means you are already at risk of complications of heart disease and kidney problems and smoking increases those risks.
- If youíve been smoking, you need admit it to your doctor. Donít hesitate to ask for help quitting.
Diabetes and saying no
Stay cool to yourself. Donít agree to anything just because your friends are suggesting it. Practice and exercise your right to say no. Here are a few good ways to say it:
- ďNo thanks.Ē
- ďNo, Iíve got to keep it real because of my diabetes.Ē
- ďDude, Iíd rather not spend the night in the emergency room.Ē
- ďCount me out, but Iíll be the designated driver.Ē