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Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Sports and Diabetes

It is certainly possible to enjoy one’s favorite sports even if one has diabetes. Indeed, an active lifestyle helps enormously to live with this medical condition. People with diabetes play at professional levels, and have represented their countries with honor and medals at various Olympic events.

However, it is not the same as with other people-there are special precautions that you need to take to play sports safely with diabetes. Most people might check their blood glucose only on occasion, but a sportsperson needs to have a meter handy for frequent measurement. It is likely that blood glucose will fall below the normal range, even if you have diabetes, when you step up the duration and intensity of physical exercise.

Recording is as important as measurement, because your doctor can study trends and adjust dosages of your medication. The best meters can record up to 200 readings at a time, and transfer data to your computer as well, but you can also just enter the readings with dates and notes in a small book.

You need rations of high fiber snacks with small amounts of simple sugars, to restore blood sugar quickly and steadily if it does fall below the normal range. Ask your doctor if glucose biscuits or a container of orange juice without added sugar will do. Remember that injuries will alter your glucose metabolism, though this may raise rather than lower your blood glucose.

You should also recognize the symptoms of hypoglycemia. The feeling of light-headed dizziness and unease can set off a panic if you do not spot low glucose before it begins to fall off very rapidly indeed. Your coach and others around you should also know of your condition, and how to help you in emergencies. Do keep your doctor’s emergency contact numbers handy, though with these tips, you should not have occasion to use it!


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