Diabetes and illnesses

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Updated: 4/11/2007 2:46 pm
Because illnesses put stress on your body, they can increase the amount of glucose, or sugar, in your blood. Therefore, if you're diabetic (die-uh-BET-ick), it's especially important to control your blood sugar level when you get sick. Keep taking your diabetes (die-uh-BEE-tees) medications. Though you may not feel much like eating, try to stick to your regular meal plan. In some cases, a doctor may prescribe insulin injections, even if you don't normally need them. Be sure to consult a physician before taking over-the-counter medicines like cough syrup, decongestants, and aspirin. These and other preparations can affect your blood sugar. Increased glucose levels also cause you to urinate more frequently. To replace these fluids, you'll need to drink plenty of caffeine-free beverages. Keep an eye on sugar levels by testing them periodically. A reading of more than 240 that persists for more than 24 hours is a danger signal. Also, watch for symptoms like chest pain, difficulty breathing, dry lips or tongue, or a fruity smell on your breath. Other signs of out-of-control blood sugar are extreme thirst, high fever, and sudden weight loss. If you develop any of these conditions while ill, see a doctor right away. Uncontrolled glucose levels can lead to a diabetic coma.

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