How to Stay Healthy and Do Well in College With Type-1 Diabetes
BY KRISTIAN KYRISYK
Currently, over 1.25 million Americans have type-1 diabetes, with about 40,000 newly diagnosed every year. A huge percentage of them are college students and those bound for college. College life is full of stress and challenges even for fully healthy people – and for those suffering from diabetes, it can be a truly tough task. However, living a full life with this condition is more than possible – and here are some tips that can help you with it.
1. Make it known
Make sure everybody around you (your friends, roommate, professors, resident advisor, etc.) knows about your condition. It is not a sign of weakness or something to be ashamed of – your condition is a part of your identity, and others around you should know that your needs may be different from theirs. For example, professors should realize that you might need diabetes equipment when in class. Also, if you have to take any medical treatment or surgical procedure, tell the doctors involved about your condition beforehand. Also, get a diabetes MedicAlert ID bracelet if you don’t have one already.
2. Teach those close to you
Many people have no acquaintance with what diabetes is and what it entails. Teach those around you (at least your roommate and immediate friends) how to discern the first signs of hypoglycemia and what they have to do in case of emergency. It can save your life.
3. Register with disability services/campus health office
These services exist to help you, protect your interests and assist in other tasks related to your condition, from getting solutions studied by Diabetes Life Solutions to making sure your everyday needs are met on campus.
4. Check your college for a CDN chapter
College Diabetes Network (CDN) has chapters with many American colleges, and these serve as an excellent source of useful information on life in college with your condition. They have been created for the support and well-being of the students like you and can be very supportive. If there isn’t one, consider taking the matters in your own hands and starting it.
5. Develop and maintain stable eating and sleeping regimens
College life can be quite chaotic and disruptive for your lifestyle and habits, which can be harmful even for otherwise healthy people. In case of diabetes, it is a good idea to stick to regular eating hours so that you can take and compare your blood sugar readings. It is especially important if you use MDI (Multiple Daily Injections), because this method is rather inflexible, and you will have to either count your carbs or eat the same amounts of the same food every day. Using an insulin pump can make eating management much easier, as this delivers continuous and customized doses of insulin throughout your day without the need for multiple injections.
Regular high-quality sleep also greatly influences your overall well-being, so try to keep it to the schedule as well.
6. Be wary of alcohol
Alcohol can be dangerous by itself, but it is especially so for people with diabetes. Firstly, symptoms of hypoglycemia can be easily written off as the results of overdrinking, especially if you are among those who don’t know about your condition. Secondly, hypoglycemia may kick in after you have gone to sleep, when you have no chance to react (especially if you did drink too much). So, drink in moderation and never do it without at least one of your friends.
7. Have an emergency kit always ready and easily accessible
Don’t let it run low and tell your close friends where to find it in case you cannot use it yourself. Also, learn the locations of all the nearest pharmacies so that you have a regular pharmacy,and never have to look for one in an emergency.
Living with diabetes is tough, but it is no reason to let it keep you down. With the right planning, lifestyle and habits, it is more than possible to live a full life, get the best education you can and have fun in the process.
BY LINE–Kristian Krisyk had been working in the field of web design for 7 years before becoming an entrepreneur in 2014 in design and marketing. His professional interests and hobbies defined major topics of his articles. These days Kristian runs his business and looks for new development opportunities. Follow him @KristianKrisyk or contact at email@example.com