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Diabetes Hub: Guide to Managing Diabetes

National Diabetes Reference Materials - An initiative under the War on Diabetes

Home > Take Control - Self-Care

Self-Care

1
Manage stress
How can I manage stress?

Physical and mental stress can affect blood sugar levels

Eat healthy to manage stress for better diabetes management

Eat healthy

Stay active to manage stress for better diabetes management

Stay active

Get enough rest to manage stress for better diabetes management

Get enough rest

Plan well and prioritise your activities to manage stress for better diabetes management

Plan well and prioritise your activities

Make time for yourself daily to manage stress for better diabetes management

Make time for yourself daily

Talk to someone supportive and understanding to manage stress for better diabetes management

Talk with someone who is supportive and understanding

Diabetes can increase stress
  • Accepting your diagnosis
  • Adjusting to treatment and changes in your life
  • Managing relationships

Physical and mental stress can change blood sugar levels

Examples of poor social support
  • The significance of your condition is downplayed
  • You are blamed for your condition
  • Your life is micromanaged
What to do if you experience poor social support
  • Share how you feel, including what was unhelpful
  • If negative support persists, seek professional help
Relaxation techniques
that can help to relieve stress
Do deep breathing as a relaxation technique to relieve stress and manage diabetes

Deep breathing

Do progressive muscle relaxation to relieve stress and manage diabetes

Progressive muscle relaxation

Listen to music as a relaxation technique to relieve stress and manage diabetes

Listening to music

Look for creative hobbies as relaxation techniques to relieve stress and manage diabetes

Creative hobbies

Do walking and other physical activities as relaxation techniques to relieve stress and manage diabetes

Walking and other physical activities

Do yoga, taichi, qigong and meditation as relaxation techniques to relieve stress and manage diabetes

Yoga, taichi, qigong and meditation

2
Fasting safely
How can I fast safely (for religious reasons)?
Before fasting
Before fasting consult with your doctor if it is safe for you

Consult your doctor if it is safe for you to fast

Before fasting adjust your diet with your healthcare professional

Adjust your diet with your healthcare professional

Before fasting adjust your medication or insulin dose with your doctor

Adjust your medication or insulin dose with your doctor

During fasting
During fasting self-monitor your blood sugar levels regularly and check for symptoms of hypoglycaemia

Self-monitor blood sugar levels regularly and check for symptoms of hypoglycaemia (low blood sugar)

If your blood sugar level is low, stop your fasting and take a sweetened drink

If your blood sugar level is low (< 4 mmol/L), stop your fast and take a sweetened drink

If symptoms of low or high blood sugar persist, stop your fast and seek medical attention

If symptoms of low or high blood sugar persist, stop your fast and seek medical attention

When should I not fast?
You should not fast if you have frequent hypoglycaemia or poorly managed diabetes

Frequent hypoglycaemia (low blood sugar) or poorly controlled diabetes

You should not fast if you have other serious conditions

Serious conditions such as nerve disorders, heart problems or uncontrolled hypertension

You should not fast if you are pregnant or breastfeeding

Pregnant or breastfeeding

You should not fast if you are sick

Sick

You should not fast if you have not been following your prescribed medication, diet and physical activities

Not been following your prescribed medication, diet and physical activities

3
Falling sick
What to do when I am sick?

Feeling unwell, e.g. fever, cough, runny nose, vomitting and diarrhoea

See your doctor when you feel sick to prevent complications

See your doctor

Get plenty of rest when you feel sick to prevent complications

Get plenty of rest

Continue taking your prescribed medication or insulin when you feel sick to prevent complications

Continue to take medication or insulin as prescribed

Check your blood sugar level more often when you feel sick to prevent complications

Check your blood sugar level more often

Drink plenty of water when you feel sick to prevent complications

Drink plenty of water

Have small, frequent meals or fluids when you feel sick to prevent complications

Have small, frequent meals or fluids (e.g. soups, diluted juices or sweetened drinks)

When do I have to see my doctor?
See your doctor when you're sick and having chest pains to prevent complications

Chest pains, shortness of breath, fruity breath, dry lips or tongue

See your doctor when you're sick and experiencing severe vomiting or diarrhoea to prevent complications

Severe vomiting or diarrhoea for more than 6 hours

See your doctor when your blood sugar levels are persistently lower than 4 mmol/L and greater than 15 mmol/L

Blood sugar levels that are persistently low (< 4 mmol/L) or high (> 15 mmol/L)

See your doctor when you're sick and you're losing appetite to prevent complications

Loss of appetite

See your doctor when you're sick and you get skin sores to prevent complications

Skin sores

4
Travelling overseas
How can I prepare for travel?
See you doctor for vaccination if possible if you're travelling overseas

See your doctor for a vaccination, if possible

Check with your care team about medication and insulin dosage if you're travelling overseas

Check with your care team on medication and insulin dosage

Bring your medical letter or diabetes card if you're travelling overseas

Bring a medical letter or diabetes card regarding your diagnosis and medication

Get insurance coverage if you're travelling overseas

Get insurance coverage

Put medication or insulin items in your carry-on bag if you're travelling overseas

Put necessary medication or insulin items in your carry-on bag

How can I manage my diabetes while abroad?
Drink plenty of water while you're abroad to manage diabetes better

Drink plenty of water

Watch your food and calorie intake while you're abroad to manage diabetes better

Watch your food and calorie intake

Bring hand carry sugar-containing sweets while you're abroad to manage diabetes better

Hand carry sugar-containing sweets

Always wear protective shoes while you're abroad to manage diabetes better

Always wear protective shoes

Bring hand carry medication or insulin items while you're abroad to manage diabetes better

Hand carry medication or insulin items

Take medication as prescribed while you're abroad to manage diabetes better

Take medication as prescribed

Monitor your blood sugar regularly while you're abroad to manage diabetes better

Self-monitor your blood sugar level regularly

Know where to seek help while you're abroad to manage diabetes better

Know where to seek help

5
Alcohol
Alcohol affects medications and liver
functions, and causes HYPOglycaemia
(low blood sugar) Keep a record of what happened prior to hypoglycaemia

Don’t drink!If drinking is unavoidable:

Don't skip meal if drinking alcohol is unavoidable

Do not skip meals

Limit yourself to 1 standard drink per day

Limit to 1 standard drink per day, choose light beer or wine spritzer

Choose a low-calorie light beer if you can't avoid drinking alcohol

Choose low-calorie light beer or dilute mixers with water

Only drink alcohol if your blood sugar is under control

Your blood sugar level is under control

Only drink alcohol if you don't experience low blood sugar symptoms

You do not have low blood sugar (< 4 mmol/L) or experience low blood sugar symptoms

What is 1 standard drink?
A 300 ml light beer is considered 1 standard drink per day

300 ml light beer

A 100 ml wine is considered 1 standard drink per day

100 ml wine

A 30 ml spirit is considered 1 standard drink per day

30 ml spirit or liqueur

Where to go for further help

National Addictions Management Service (NAMS)
6732 6837
https://www.nams.sg/

HPB QuitLine
1800 438 2000
https://www.healthhub.sg/programmes/88/IQuit

6
Smoking
Smoking increases risk of diabetes and its
complications, and insulin resistance Keep a record of what happened prior to hypoglycaemia

Quit smoking!Managing common withdrawal symptoms

Warn family and friends of potential irritability to better manage withdrawal syndrome from quitting smoke

Warn family and friends of potential irritability

Keep yourself distracted to better manage withdrawal syndrome from quitting smoke

Distract yourself by doing something else

Do light exercises to better manage withdrawal syndrome from quitting smoke

Do light exercises like brisk walking to lift your mood

Take small, regular meals to better manage withdrawal syndrome from quitting smoke

Take small, regular meals

Do stretching exercises to better manage withdrawal syndrome from quitting smoke

Do stretching exercises

Join the I Quit 28-Day Countdown to better manage withdrawal syndrome from quitting smoke

Join the I Quit 28-Day Countdown