The outbreak of COVID-19 has challenged millions of people across the
world to change the way they live their lives. Many people have been
asked to stay indoors, either in self-isolation or quarantine. You may
not be able to go outdoors for a walk or go to the gym as often as you
like, and there may even be difficulties in going out and buying the
food you prefer to eat. It can therefore be more challenging than
normal to follow your daily routine – and this may also affect how
your blood sugar levels regulate.
In this section, we will provide some ideas for how to manage your
blood sugar during the COVID-19 crisis to help you stay within your
optimal blood sugar range and reduce the risk of getting a low blood
sugar level, which is also called hypoglycaemia or a “hypo”.
If you are finding it difficult to remember to eat regularly or if
you are having challenges adjusting your insulin doses to reduced
levels of physical activity due to self-isolation and staying indoors
most of the time, please consult with your doctor as you may be at an
increased risk of experiencing low blood sugar levels.
How to spot a hypo – common symptoms
Some of the common symptoms of hypos include confusion, intense
hunger, feeling sick, clumsiness, blurred vision and slurred speech.
You may find you experience one or more of these when your blood sugar
levels are low. Or a family member or friend might mention that you
are acting a little strangely or that you look unwell.
On a site called Talk About
Hypos, you will find videos with family members sharing how they
are impacted by the hypos of their loved ones and that it is important
to talk about it with your family and doctor.
Helping reduce the risk of hypos
Having a daily routine is one of the best ways to help you adapt to
your new life during this unprecedented situation. Creating a daily
routine, planning your mealtimes and ensuring you eat regularly, plus
having planned time to check your blood sugar levels and take your
insulin, will help you to spend more time within your ideal blood
sugar range and reduce the risk of getting hypos.
It is also a good idea to manage your stress levels to help reduce
the likelihood of hypos. Try reading, meditating, yoga, or perhaps
something creative, like painting and drawing. Spending time with any
pets you may have can also help ease any worries and stress. See this
article to learn more about how
to deal with stress.
So while responding with anxiety to something is sometimes
reasonable, let’s discuss different ways to reduce the risk and impact
of anxiety and discomfort.
It would be beneficial for your blood sugar balance, as well as your
overall well-being, even if you just exercise for 10 minutes a day
indoors – or outdoors if at all possible. There are many online
fitness classes that you may wish to try. More ideas can be found in
the “Tips for Exercise” section here.
Prolonged periods of stress can
also lead to changes in blood sugar levels, increasing the risk of
hypos. You can read more about how to monitor your blood sugar here.
What to do if you experience a hypo
If you start to feel unwell or notice some of the typical symptoms of
a hypo, first check your blood sugar levels. If your blood sugar
levels are too low, it’s always recommended to treat a mild hypo with
fast-acting sugar sources such as glucose tablets or sweets. Fruit
juice or a regular soda drink can also be helpful to quickly raise
your blood sugar levels.
Remember to recheck your blood sugar after 15 minutes to reassure if
blood sugar levels have recovered. More severe cases (if loss of
consciousness occurs or a seizure happens) may require getting support
from emergency medical service. If a glucagon injection kit is
available, it can be administered to manage severe hypos too.
Food with complex carbohydrates, such as highly-processed white
bread, takes longer to be broken down by the body. These are not so
good for the immediate management of a hypo, but can be useful for
keeping blood glucose at a normal level after a hypo.
If you are having difficulties in controlling your blood sugar
levels and reducing the risk of hypos, you should seek the advice of
your doctor or nurse.
Learn more about hypos here
To learn more about hypos, better understand why they appear and how
to track and reduce the risk of getting hypos, we recommend you join
the Hypo Program on www.hypoprogram.com.
This is general disease awareness and should not be understood as
medical advice. If you experience symptoms of COVID-19 or have
questions, doubts or concerns, you should contact your doctor. Always
follow the advice of local authorities.
In this article you will find links to third-party material not
owned or controlled by Novo Nordisk. We are not responsible for the
content or the accuracy of the information provided and have no
Going high? Mealtime challenges and hyperglycaemia (hypers)
This article provides information to help you understand the signs of
experiencing a hyper, as well as some ideas for how you can try to
prevent your blood sugar levels from getting above your optimal range.