Any illness can affect your blood glucose control so it is important to understand how to manage your diabetes effectively when unwell. In particular, it is important to continue taking your diabetes medication including insulin, as you may find that your blood glucose rises, even when you aren't eating properly.

Being ill results in body cells releasing more glucose from the liver store, also your body becomes more resitant to insulin. If you have high blood glucose levels (hyperglycaemia), your body can become dehydrated.

Important advice to remember when you are unwell

  • Never stop taking your insulin or tablets (you may need to adjust your dose).
  • Drink plenty of unsweetened fluids - aim for five pints a day.
  • Test your blood glucose daily (or more often if significantly higher or lower than normal).
  • If you don't feel like eating solid food, more frequent testing will help you know if you need to sip sugary drinks such as cola, lemonade, milk, fruit juice, ice cream, soup or yoghurt.
  • Rest - exercise can make you feel worse during illness.
  • If you have ketone testing strips and your blood glucose is above 15mmol/l, test daily until you feel better. If moderate or large, contact your diabetes team or GP straight away.
  • If your blood glucose levels are continuously high, you are vomiting and unable to keep anything down, contact your diabetes team or GP.
Block A Level One, Queen Mary's Hospital, Frognal Avenue, Sidcup, Kent, DA14 6LT Diabetes Queries: 020 8269 3419