In the United States, diabetes rates have increased from 5.5. % in 1994 to 9.9 % in 2012, in the past 2 decades.
Moreover, according to estimations around 9.4 % or 30.3 million Americans had diabetes in the year 2015. And by 2050, it’s expected that 1 in 3 adults to have diabetes. These numbers are disturbing.
However, the prevalence of diabetes is mostly increasing because of decreased physical inactivity, and increases in unhealthy eating habits and obesity.
Having diabetes means special precautions for everything. Those with diabetes need to take extra care of almost everything.
And in the cold season, the flu is almost inevitable, and those with this chronic condition should take extra care of the flu as well. This is in comparison to a healthy individual. Intrigued? Read on, to find out more about this.
The Flu Might Complicate Diabetes
Influenza more commonly known as the flu is highly contagious. It’s like that since the viruses spread when infected individual sneeze or coughs small droplets into the air which contain the virus.
The flu is a severe threat to individuals with diabetes type 1 and type 2. Generally speaking, individuals with this disease are at greater risk to catch the flu. It’s like that since the flu might pose big difficulties when it comes to diabetes management.
As a matter of fact, the flu infection might lead to changes in blood glucose and prevent those with diabetes from eating correctly, which further impacts the blood glucose levels.
Furthermore, diabetes might make the immune system less capable of combatting infections.
Having diabetes and flu means an increased risk of HHS, i.e., Hyperosmolar Hyperglycemic State and Ketoacidosis (a condition when the body is not able to use the sugar as a fuel due to insufficient insulin or no insulin at all).
What To Do When Having Diabetes and the Flu
These people need to consult their doctor about antiviral drugs which might shorten the duration of the flu and ease the symptoms.
In order to have good results, it’s best for the antiviral drugs to be taken in the first 2 days once they notice the flu symptoms.
Over-the-counter drugs might help those with diabetes to feel better, but these drugs don’t lessen the flu infection and its consequences.
It’s important to drink plenty of water in order to avoid dehydration. Also, it’s vital to check the blood sugar levels every 2-4 hours and record the readings. Consult a doctor in case blood glucose levels remains too low or too high.
What to Do When Having Type 1 Diabetes and the Flu
Those who have type 1 diabetes and the flu, and also have blood sugar levels over 250 mg or dl, need to test for ketones in the urine. If left untreated, excessive ketones might lead to ketoacidosis.