The Kaw Nation Diabetes Program hosted its annual Diabetes Update Meeting for patients on Dec. 10.
Certified Diabetes Educator Dianne Brown of the Harold Hamm Diabetes Center discussed with patients strategies for shopping and storing food safely. She encouraged patients to pick up meats, fish and milk at the end of the visit to the grocery store to reduce the risk of spoilage.
Brown suggesting keeping a sick day box, which is filled with items needed when one is sick. This includes sugar-free cough drops, pudding, ketone sticks, a thermometer, antacids, hand sanitizer, foot care cream, antibiotic ointment, glucose tablets or liquid shots, extra insulin and lancets, instant soup, saltine crackers, a water bottle, alcohol prep pads, glucogon, emergency phone numbers, reminders of when to take medications and notes for carbohydrate portions.
Type 1 Diabetics are more susceptible to diabetic ketoacidosis, a complication where the body produces high levels of blood acids called ketones. Ketone is a byproduct of fat burned for bodily fuel, which occurs when insulin doesn’t produce.
“Think of your fat burning like a fire place burning wood. One of byproducts of burning wood is ashes. They get higher and higher and higher. That’s kind of what happens when your body’s kicking in and it starts burning fat for fuel, and then your ketones start building up. It can change your blood acid balance and you can get really, really sick,” she said.
Brown recommended that when ketones build up, diabetics should get insulin to correct it.
She reminded patients that blood sugar should be checked more frequently when sick.
Brown said that being prepared for illness and frequently checking blood sugar can prevent Hyperosmotic Hyperglycemic Syndrome (HHS) and a trip to the hospital. Symptoms of HHS, for which Type 2 Diabetics face a greater risk, include confusion, seizures and sunken eyeballs.
Diabetics with HHS can become very dehydrated and see their blood sugar skyrocket.
Brown emphasized the importance of taking one’s medications as prescribed when sick.
At the end of the meeting, patients received prizes courtesy of SouthWind Casinos.