Diabetes is tough to deal with for anyone.
Over the years I have tried to come up with a few tricks that can help with blood sugar control in general. I hope that these might help you, too. But remember to talk to your parents and your doctors before making any sort of changes with your health plan.
1.) WHAT TRICKS DO YOU HAVE TO MANAGE YOUR DIABETES?
-Try to give your insulin 10-15 minutes to kick in before eating. I’ve noticed that it takes some time for my insulin to start working, and if I eat right away after giving insulin, my blood sugar tends to spike up pretty quickly.
-Try to check your blood sugar 6-7 times a day. Trust me, I know how annoying it can be, but it is so important. You can also check out continuous glucose monitors. I wear a Dexcom and it has been great.
-Try to get into a routine. I find that when I get into a rhythm of eating at similar times throughout the day and eating similar foods every day with lots of protein, and not as many sugary carbohydrates, my blood sugar tends to respond well. I try to stay away from candy and sweets as much as possible. I know that’s tough, but if you really know the food you’re eating and can accurately count your carbs, it will make life a ton easier.
-The pump changed my life. And I recently started using a Dexcom CGM. So if you are not on these, I highly recommend that you talk about the possibility with your parents and doctors. Try to take advantage of the new technologies out there.
2.) WHAT TIPS DO YOU HAVE TO MANAGE DIABETES AND EXERCISE?
-With exercise, giving advice can be tricky because everyone is different and each individual body reacts differently. So keep that in mind and know that some of these suggestions may take some trial and error to work for you. But if you want to be active while controlling your diabetes, I hope that some of these tips that I’ve learned over the years might help.
-Try to find the ideal blood sugar for you that you want to start your exercise with. For me, it is around 140-150. I’ve noticed that even though I’m running around in a game, my blood sugar will often be high after the game. Playing in a game will cause a release of adrenaline and that will lead to you having a high blood sugar. So it is important, even during a game, to have insulin in your system. Recently I’ve tried to have a unit of insulin in my system when I start the game or practice and that has seemed to help keep my blood sugar down.
-Check your blood sugar every 30-45 minutes during exercise and then just repeat the process from above. Before a game, I try to check my blood sugar 4-5 times in the hour leading up to the game.
-Find a snack that your body reacts to well when you have a low blood sugar and need to bring your sugar up. For me, that is Tree Top gummy snacks. I’ve been using them for years and they have really worked well for me. If I need some quick sugar before a game or practice, those are my go-to snacks!
-Try to eat 2-3 hours before intense exercise. I’ve noticed that eating right before is really tough because you will have a lot of insulin in your system and your blood sugar will likely drop if you’re working out hard. So if you can try to eat your big meal 2-3 hours before, that may help you have the best result.
-Try to find a set meal that you eat before intense exercise. For me, this took a lot of trial and error, but what I have found has been really useful. Again, I try to stay away from highsugary foods because they make your blood sugar so unpredictable; what I have found is that foods like yogurt, fruit, sandwiches, energy bars and pretzels have worked really well for me. So before a big game, I definitely tend to eat foods like this.
3.) WHAT ADVICE DO YOU HAVE FOR YOUNG DIABETICS?
-The biggest thing I want you to take away from my story is that you should not let diabetes hold you back from anything. Keeping a positive outlook can definitely be a challenge – I won’t ever say that I didn’t and don’t still have moments of difficulty – but the more positively you approach your diabetes, the more in control you’ll be, and you’ll have better outcomes in achieving the goals you set for yourself. With that, here are a few final tips that I use to keep a positive outlook.
-Pura Vida. This is a saying that I picked up when I went to Costa Rica with my family. It is Spanish for “pure life” and it basically means that you should appreciate your life how it is, because there is always someone who has it worse off than you. It’s about appreciating life’s treasures. I know how tough diabetes can be, but I’ve looked at it as a challenge that I’m going to overcome and it is only going to push me to be a better person. I have really tried to embrace the Pura Vida mentality of appreciating my life, diabetes and all. That has helped me embrace my disease instead of feeling trapped by it.
-You should never feel ashamed of your diabetes. It is part of who you are. I have grown to love talking about living with diabetes. It is a great feeling to be able to connect with other people who share the same struggles and to possibly help them, and you can’t do that if you’re ashamed or hide that big part of you. I am very open about living with this disease and you should be too.
-Be proud of yourself for dealing with this disease. With everything else going on in your life, you have to deal with this 24/7 on top of it all. That takes a lot of strength and courage! Try not to get down, even when things are tough. I always say that God gave me diabetes because he felt I could handle it. Be proud of yourself every day and always count the blessings that you have.
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