Managing the highs and lows of diabetes
With proper knowledge, skills and tools, life need not be a roller coaster ride for diabetics
The serious long-term complications of high blood sugar levels are much publicised. But for some people living with diabetes, it is the fear of very low blood sugar levels that can cause crippling anxiety.
One such person is Ben, a self-employed 41-year-old who was diagnosed with diabetes 12 years ago.
He was initially managed with oral medications but required insulin therapy after four years, when the oral medications stopped being effective.
He had to inject himself with insulin before every meal. He wasn't sure of the amount of insulin to inject and often used too little or too much.
His life became a daily roller coaster of high and low blood sugar levels as he grappled with the right balance of insulin and carbohydrates.
By the time Ben was referred to the Diabetes Centre at Khoo Teck Puat Hospital a year ago, his drastic high and low blood sugar levels were causing him a lot of anxiety.
He tested his blood sugar levels 20 times a day and often woke up at night in panic, worried that he was having a low blood sugar attack or hypoglycaemia.
A hypo, or hypoglycaemia attack, occurs when blood sugar levels fall too low because of a mismatch between the body's insulin level and the amount of food (carbohydrates) eaten.
It results in unpleasant symptoms such as shakiness, sweating, palpitations, confusion and blurred vision.
If left untreated, a hypo is a medical emergency as it can cause a coma and even death.
This condition can happen to a person with diabetes, depending on the t Continue reading