Do you have high diabetes? Here are 4 easy ways to control it
Type 1 diabetics need not stay away from outdoor treks and hikes, provided they take proper precautionspune Updated: Oct 31, 2017 23:35 IST
Contrary to the common belief that diabetics should avoid strenuous outdoor activities, 23 young people with type 1 diabetes recently scaled Kalsubai, Maharashtra’s highest peak, as part of India’s first T1D Challenge. This event brought to light the fact that not all diabetics need to keep away from enjoying the great outdoors. HT Café speaks to experts to find out what type 1 diabetics can do if they want to hike, trek and explore while staying safe.
Not an unscalable peak
Diabetologist and executive secretary of Diabetes India, Dr Banshi Saboo says, “With the right kind of awareness, preparedness and motivation, anyone with type 1 diabetes can pursue challenges that would have otherwise seemed impossible. Inadequate awareness and an unsupportive environment often hinder these youths from doing what other people their age do. We must encourage such activities to motivate young people with T1 diabetes to come together and support each other’s journeys.”
Diabetologist and founder of Udaan, Dr Archana Sarda says that it is a myth that people with type 1 diabetes cannot go for treks or adventure trips. “People with type 1 diabetes can take on any challenge if they regularly monitor their blood sugar and have carefully regulated meals and scheduled insulin administration. All they need is a complete diabetes kit, the knowledge of how to take care of themselves, and, of course, confidence,” she says.
Be bold but not careless
Careful planning and preparation are the key when undertaking any adventurous activity. Patients with type 1 diabetes must ensure they have their diabetes kit at all times. They must eat all their meals on time, and hypoglycaemia (low blood sugar) episodes can be prevented if patients monitor their blood sugar at least seven times a day and adjust their insulin dosage or food intake accordingly.
Sarda adds, “Type 1 diabetics who want to trek can do so. Be bold but not careless. Plan your trip, talk to your doctor, carry a complete diabetes kit, go with a group, monitor your sugar levels, eat frequently, take your insulin on time, and know how to manage your diabetes. Please remember that there are no shortcuts — discipline is the key to your freedom. The right balance of physical activity, blood sugar monitoring, and regular food intake and insulin administration can keep you safe anywhere.”
Dos and don’ts for diabetics
Experts recommend making a detailed list of all that you need in your diabetes kit. You’ll need insulin with syringes or an insulin pen, a snack, a glucometer, and strips. Make sure you clearly label everything in the kit.
Sarda says, “Speak to your doctor for any special advice and make sure you carry their certificate and prescription. Wear comfortable shoes during the trek and always go with a trekking group where your guide and at least one team member is familiar with what to do in case of an emergency, such as a hypoglycaemic episode.”
You should also remember to not depend on finding a store along the way to buy a snack. Pack everything you may need in your kit ahead of time. Do not depend on symptoms to tell you if your sugar level is higher or lower than it should be. It is imperative that you use a glucometre to monitor your sugar to decide whether you need to take an additional dose of insulin or have a snack.
When setting off on any trek, make sure you carry a diabetes kit containing the following:
•Glucose tablets (Hypotabs)
•Food and water
•Insulin, preferably in a coolant
•A glucometer and adequate strips
•Identity card along with emergency contact numbers and instructions
•A basic medical kit to treat injuries, fevers or vomiting.