5 Tips For Playing Sports With Diabetes

By Selena Gerrish

March 10, 2019Conditions & DiseasesNo comments

For those with diabetes who maintain an active lifestyle through sports, it is important to follow through on certain precautions and practices. As a disease that affects the body’s insulin production, the amount of glucose, or blood sugar, in someone with diabetes’ bloodstream can be affected greatly by excessive physical activity, as the body will release extra glucose for more energy. In the event that the body does not have enough insulin to breakdown the glucose, then it remains in the body and could lead to hyperglycemia.

In the event that the body manages to burn through the blood sugar, individuals suffering from diabetes can once again be at risk, this time from hypoglycemia. The effects of both range, but can lead to serious complications. Especially for young people who may not be able to distinguish the effects of physical exertion from hyperglycemia or hypoglycemia, it is important to be aware of a number of things. To help, consider the following tips for playing sports with diabetes.

Make sure people know that you have diabetes

As you join new teams and get to know your teammates and coach, be sure to let them know that you have diabetes. Having diabetes is not something to hide from people and informing those around you of it will allow you to keep yourself safe while playing sports. This is done as you begin engaging in physical activity, as those around you may see signs of how the activity is affecting you and can know to keep an eye out just in case. And just as important as letting others know that you suffer from diabetes is instructing them on how to help you when playing begins to have affect you. This is all done as a precaution to ensure you can play for an extended period of time and compete safely.

Keep A Bag Stocked With Diabetic Supplies

At any time during competition, you may have need for quick treatment to help get you ready for the game or to stay in it. That may be a meter for determining glucose levels or a small snack to combat low blood sugar. Other essential diabetic supplies may include insulin or glucagon for managing spikes or drops. An important part of having the bag is knowing when and how to breakup treatment to allow for quick recharges.

Getting together a schedule will help you to manage diabetes and to avoid any risks, while keeping you in the match. Be sure that as you use the supplies you are restocking them.  You want to make sure that if you ever are to have need of something that you have more than enough to manage it.

Check Glucose Levels Before Exercising

Even before your warm up, make sure that you take some time to check your blood sugar. It is important to give yourself a sizable window that will allow you enough time to adjust your glucose levels, should you need to. It is after determining what your glucose levels are that you can make any necessary adjustments and it is critical before getting active that you get your blood sugar to a level that allows for sustainable exercise.

If you find that your glucose is low, eat a small snack and give it time to come back up. Even if your blood sugar levels are not low, it may be wise to still consume something in order to give yourself a slight buffer before exerting yourself. 

Always wear your medical ID bracelet

Medical ID bracelets are indicators used for quick and easy recognition of any conditions that wearers may suffer from, any allergies they may have, and any desired treatment options. In the event you are unable to voice your concerns or wishes, the ID is what lets those around you, as well as medical professionals, vital information.

As someone who suffers from diabetes, there may come a time in which you need your ID to do your communicating for you. Especially in the event where your sport allows you compete as an individual instead of with teammates, like in track and field or swimming, it is crucial those around you are able to get a sense of what is going on quickly.

Check Your Blood Sugar After Exercising

The effects of physical activity on your blood sugar have the ability to last up to twenty four hours following exercise. This is particularly important for those who may partake in night games as they may turn in for the night shortly after the competition is concluded without taking any actions to regulate their blood sugar overnight. When your match concludes, be sure to give your blood sugar a check.

If adjustments need to be made, like if you need to get your glucose levels a boost, get a snack and give it some time. Check it again from there and you may even want to set an alarm to wake yourself up and give it a check in the night. Being cautious and staying on top of it will help you to keep your levels normal.

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