Colds in diabetes: nuances in treatment

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Colds in diabetes: nuances in treatment

The treatment of a cold in diabetes differs from the usual one not only by the use of medicines marked “sugar-free”. The devil is in the details. Let’s look at how to change the dose of insulin, which drugs should not be used, and how to avoid ketoacidosis .

Materials from the author’s workshop Diabeton

What we usually call the common cold are viral diseases. The causative agent can be one of 200 respiratory viruses. The body zealously fights the source of all troubles, and not only the temperature rises. People with diabetes find it difficult to control their sugar levels when they are sick. We already wrote about how to deal with different factors in the article: SARS in diabetes: how to equalize sugars. Today we will analyze the nuances of therapy and the risks of ketoacidosis .

What medicines to use?

Only a doctor should prescribe treatment. But he needs to be notified that you have diabetes. This is due not only to the fact that sugar is undesirable in the composition of drugs.
When choosing medicines, the doctor should take into account the drugs that you take to normalize the level of glycemia, as well as therapy against complications (most often refers to drugs for polyneuropathy) and other chronic pathologies. Medicines can interact poorly with each other, which will lead to unexpected effects. People with high blood pressure need to clarify whether the prescribed remedy has a hypertensive effect. Even ordinary nasal drops can increase blood pressure. When taking anti -symptomatic drugs that contain paracetamol (teas, tablets, nasal and ear drops, etc.), remember that the glucometer or continuous monitoring system may give an error in measurement. More on this: “Could flu and cold teas be inaccurate in measuring sugar?”

Antidiabetic therapy

With colds in the body, the level of contrainsular hormones is increased. This explains the high sugars and the difficulty in compensating them. A common recommendation that will help correct the condition is the 20% rule. If the usual dose of bolus insulin does not change the situation, increase it by 20%. An additional fifth of the daily bolus is administered as a single dose or with prandial insulin (for meals).

People on oral hypoglycemic agents are also advised to add insulin therapy.
“Small doses of insulin in addition to conventional treatment during infectious diseases appear to be the most effective, according to our observations. After recovery, such patients can safely stop insulin and return to their usual diabetes treatment regimen. Therefore, we recommend that all people with diabetes keep insulin in the refrigerator just in case, ”explains Alexander Yuryevich Mayorov, head of the Department of Prediction and Innovation of Diabetes at the ERC, for Diabetic magazine living .


In inflammatory processes, a number of factors are possible that increase the risk of developing ketoacidosis : prolonged hyperglycemia, a high level of contrainsular hormones that affect metabolic processes, vomiting and diarrhea for more than a few hours, dehydration, lack of appetite and cell starvation.

ketoacidosis test strips in your medicine cabinet at all times . Observe the drinking regime. Even if there is no appetite, try to periodically eat something in small portions. The American Diabetes Association recommends a regimen of 1 XE (10-12 grams of carbs)/hour. This will reduce the risk of hungry ketones, as well as avoid the state of hypoglycemia.

If worrisome symptoms persist, seek immediate medical attention:

  • an increased amount of ketones in the urine or in the blood, the smell of acetone when exhaling;
  • vomiting or diarrhea for more than 6 hours;
  • the level of glycemia is >17.0 mmol/l and cannot be reduced;
  • greatly increased body temperature;
  • constant drowsiness, confused thoughts;
  • Cold symptoms only get worse over time.

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