Attending college can be wonderful but also extremely stressful. You’ll experience new relationships, have more responsibility, and start making some important life decisions, such as what to major in and what career you wish to pursue. All of this stress can be overwhelming and it can increase if you have diabetes.
Stress, according to the American Diabetes Association, can dramatically raise glucose levels. Prolonged raised blood glucose in both Type 1 and Type 2 diabetics can lead to a number of complications that range from continued fatigue to vision and kidney problems.
Considering what stress can do to the body, it is important that diabetics continue to monitor their blood sugar levels. Unfortunately, monitoring glucose levels in college often takes a back seat to all the fun and excitement that occurs. This can lead to uncontrolled diabetes and numerous complications.
If you are in college and have diabetes, the following are some helpful tips that will allow you to monitor your glucose levels and control your disease while still having fun.
Create a Daily Schedule That Works for You
Creating a schedule is especially important if you are going away to college. You will be on an entirely new schedule, facing new situations, eating at designated times, and taking part in activities at various times of the day. This will be a new change of pace compared to your life back home. The best way to cope is to implement structure and stick to it.
Before the start of every semester/quarter, create a schedule that works for you. Make sure you include time to eat breakfast, lunch and dinner; as well as several small snacks, time to study, and time to hang out with friends or family.
Of course, it is important to stick to your schedule, but it doesn’t mean you can’t waiver a little bit. If there is a party or a gathering you wish to attend, feel free to do so, just be sure to adjust your schedule accordingly.
Realize the Impact of Drinking
While attending college, you will probably be invited to a fair number of parties, all of which may or may not include drinking. It is important to realize the impact alcohol will have on your diabetes.
Drinking even moderate amounts of alcohol can cause blood sugar to spike. Overdrinking can cause you to experience extreme lows. If you are over the age of 21, you don’t have to completely pass on the alcohol — but drink responsibly based on your body’s tolerance to alcohol.
Be Prepared With Your Medication
Always keep a proper supply of testing strips, insulin and other supplies on hand. You never know when an emergency could happen and the last thing you want to deal with is running out.
If you are going away to college, consider keeping an emergency prescription on hand at the local pharmacy. This will allow you to get your medication or supplies without having to wait.
Consider Wearing a Diabetes Alert Bracelet or Notifying Close Friends of Your Condition
There is no telling when you may experience a medical emergency related to your diabetes. It is important to make sure that those around you know about your condition so they act accordingly.
This doesn’t mean you have to tell every single person you come in contact with, but consider telling close friends and your roommate. If you don’t wish to tell these individuals, consider purchasing a medical alert bracelet or necklace, which will allow individuals to know about your condition should you have a medical emergency.
Just because you have diabetes doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy the college experience. You just have to be smart about it. Follow these tips and you will be able to have a fulfilling and fun time in this new chapter of your life, while still controlling and maintaining your diabetes.
This article was contributed by guest author Thomas Boston.