The Diabetic Athlete

Stay­ing Active With Type 1 Diabetes

What is Type 1 Diabetes?

Type 1 dia­betes is a chron­ic con­di­tion most often diag­nosed in chil­dren and young adults that occurs when the pan­creas does not pro­duce the insulin your body needs to per­form sev­er­al vital func­tions includ­ing reg­u­lat­ing the amount of sug­ar in the blood stream and cir­cu­lat­ing sug­ar through­out the body so that it can be used for ener­gy. With­out ade­quate insulin, sug­ar builds up in the blood stream and can cause seri­ous com­pli­ca­tions affect­ing many organs in the body includ­ing the heart, kid­ney and eyes. Indi­vid­u­als with Type 1 dia­betes need to close­ly mon­i­tor their blood sug­ar lev­els and use diet and lifestyle mod­i­fi­ca­tions and insulin med­ica­tions to man­age their diabetes.

Type 1 Dia­betes & Activity:

For­tu­nate­ly, there are ways indi­vid­u­als with Type 1 dia­betes can enjoy a healthy, active lifestyle. For ath­letes liv­ing with type 1 dia­betes, it’s all about self-aware­ness and bal­ance. It is impor­tant to mon­i­tor your sug­ar (glu­cose) lev­els and make adjust­ments to your diet and insulin dos­ing when need­ed to keep your blood sug­ar lev­el with­in a healthy range. Glu­cose lev­els can impact a wide- range of ath­let­ic abil­i­ties includ­ing your strength, speed, sta­mi­na, flex­i­bil­i­ty and your body’s abil­i­ty to heal. Keep­ing your blood sug­ar with­in the desired range allows your body to per­form its best and helps pre­vent health com­pli­ca­tions or injury.

It is impor­tant to be aware that var­i­ous activ­i­ties can impact your blood sug­ar lev­els dif­fer­ent­ly and require addi­tion­al recov­ery time. Blood glu­cose lev­els should be mon­i­tored con­tin­u­ous­ly while engag­ing in phys­i­cal activ­i­ty, includ­ing before and after you exer­cise, to ensure that your blood sug­ar stays with­in a healthy range.

Tips for Stay­ing Active with Type 1 Diabetes:

  • Always con­sult with your pri­ma­ry care physi­cian before start­ing a new exer­cise rou­tine or mak­ing any changes to your treat­ment plan.
  • Become famil­iar with how your blood glu­cose lev­els respond to exer­cise. Under­stand­ing how your body reacts to dif­fer­ent activ­i­ties and iden­ti­fy­ing pat­terns can help you antic­i­pate and pre­vent your blood glu­cose lev­els from get­ting too high or too low.
  • Be sure to car­ry blood glu­cose mon­i­tor­ing equip­ment, your insulin pump and snacks with you to pre­vent low blood sugar.
  • Avoid admin­is­ter­ing insulin to the parts of your body you will be uti­liz­ing dur­ing the activity.
  • Engage in more struc­tured exer­cise rou­tines ver­sus spo­radic activ­i­ty that can make man­ag­ing blood glu­cose lev­els difficult.
  • Fol­low the 15−15 Rule” through­out your workout
    • Check your blood glu­cose level.
    • For read­ings below 100 mg/​dL, have 15 – 120 grams of carbohydrates.
    • Re-check your blood glu­cose after 15 min­utes. If it is still below 100 mg/​dL, have anoth­er serv­ing of 15 grams of carbohydrate.
    • Repeat these steps every 15 min­utes until your blood glu­cose lev­els are at least 100 mg/​dL before start­ing to exer­cise again.
  • Make sure oth­ers are aware of your dia­betes and know what to do in case of an emergency.
  • Eat foods rich in car­bo­hy­drates pri­or to engag­ing in phys­i­cal activ­i­ty includ­ing high fiber fruits like apples, pas­ta, or legumes.

Reg­u­lar exer­cise is can help indi­vid­u­als with type 1 dia­betes low­er their blood pres­sure, blood sug­ar and A1C lev­els which can reduce the amount of insulin med­ica­tions need­ed to man­age their dia­betes. For more infor­ma­tion on how to man­age your dia­betes and stay active with dia­betes, sched­ule an appoint­ment with a DuPage Med­ical Group Endocri­nol­o­gist by call­ing 630−789−4910 or sched­ule online.

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