Coping with change confidently

Wednesday, 28 September 2016

Living with diabetes can be challenging at the best of times. Throw in a holiday or a new environment such as a hospital stay, where your routine changes, and your stress levels may increase. During these times your diabetes can be more difficult to manage.

To experience all that life has to offer, especially holidays, you just have to make sure that when you are thrown these changes you know how to cope with them and manage your numbers as best you can. Remember time zone changes will have an effect on your BGLs.

As you know, diabetes is a very individual condition so if you know you’re going to travel, have a sleepover, a hospital admission or you are just be out of routine, make sure to take time to have a chat with your diabetes team and get a plan of action ready. The following are just a few things to keep in mind:

Regular BGL checking: You won’t know what your BGL is doing if you don’t check. Stress may affect people differently, BGLs can go up, or may drop. If you are on insulin you will need to get guidelines from your team for dose adjustments. Remember, pain is stress and will affect your numbers.

Physical activity: Exercise, even incidental exercise, can play a big part in what your BGL does. If you are usually active and then find yourself lazing on a beach or confined to bed or alternatively, if you don’t exercise much and are sightseeing and walking more you will notice a difference in your results. You may need to increase or decrease your medication during these times. If you are not sure what do, contact your team for advice that’s best for you. As a rule of thumb, if you are on any blood glucose lowering medication it’s best to err on the side of caution and carry hypo food with you.

Food: Enjoy! New experiences are what life is all about and we all enjoy food. Watch portion sizes as you would at home, carb count as close as possible. Eating out can be challenging, do the best you can. If you are on insulin adjust later with guidelines from your team. It’s unrealistic to expect perfect management of your diabetes during these times. If you are in hospital and have dietary changes for whatever reason you can ask to speak to the dietitian or diet aid for help filling out your menu.

Sick day plan: Even domestic travel and new water sources can have an effect on some people. Make sure you are armed with a sick day plan from your doctor or diabetes educator. If you are travelling overseas talk to your doctor who may give you prescriptions to have filled before you go just in case you get sick. There’s not much worse than having your long-awaited holiday ruined by ‘Bali Belly’.

If you are after more information on overseas travel take a look at the travel information resources on the website. Or you can call our Infoline on 1300 342 238 to speak to a diabetes educator, dietitian or exercise physiologist for general advice and support.

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