Diabetes and Chronic Illness

What do I if I have a chronic (long-term) illness, like cancer?

Managing your diabetes and cancer

  • Managing your diabetes when you have been diagnosed with cancer and especially while you are undergoing cancer treatment is a special challenge
  • Remember there are three goals:
    • To keep you feeling as good as possible
    • To be able to continue your cancer treatments
    • To avoid diabetes complications
  • Management: Your blood sugar (you most important management tool)
  • Work with your health care providers to keep your blood sugars as close to the usual recommended ranges as possible:
    • Fasting 80-110 mg/dl
    • After meals - <180 mg/dl
    • or other ranges your health care provider may give you during treatment

Good days

  • On good days you will be able to eat a healthy, balanced diet and get some exercise
  • Other days
  • Before and during treatment you may have days when you don't feel like eating or being active
  • On these days it is especially important to check your blood sugar several times each day and plan with your health care provider for treating sugars that are too low or high
  • If you are having treatment side effects that are affecting your ability to eat or are affecting your blood sugar, let your health care provider know. He/she may be able to help you

Management: Long-term

  • Remember: your second goal is to prevent complications of diabetes
  • To prevent or delay diabetes-related complications you need to:
    • Control your blood sugar and hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c)
    • Keep cholesterol and other blood fats normal
    • Maintain normal blood pressure
    • Exercise according to your doctors recommendation
  • The Ups and Downs of Chronic Illness
    • One of the most difficult aspects of dealing with chronic illness is the bad days and the good days and never knowing which you'll wake up to
    • Everyone reacts differently to this stress
    • You should look to your supports to help you through these difficult times
    • This may be your family, friends, religious congregation members or traditional medicine person
    • Some people are helped a lot by the friendship and encouragement of someone who has "been there" them- selves, in other words, another cancer survivor, especially one who also has diabetes
    • Remember that others have struggled in the same way and want to help you through your difficult times