What type 2 diabetics can expect during hospitalization

A medical emergency is alarming to anyone, but for those with type 2 diabetes, managing their blood sugar away from home can be an added source of anxiety. Leigh Ann Brooks, RN, BSN, RD, CD, CDE, nursing services operational lead, Diabetes Education Center, walks us through some of the special treatment (and the reasoning behind it) patients can expect during their time in the hospital.

No one wants to think about having to be hospitalized. In these instances, something is wrong. You might be sick or in pain or even need surgery. It is a stressful situation. Having type 2 diabetes can add another layer of complexity to the situation. Your blood sugar is not only impacted by food, activity and medications, but it’s also impacted by stress, illness and injury.

If you are hospitalized, your blood sugars may be higher than they normally would be. You may also have nausea, vomiting or other issues with your digestive tract. For these reasons, the American Diabetes Association recommends that physicians discontinue any oral medications you may be taking and use insulin to control your blood sugars while you are in the hospital. Controlling the blood sugar during infection, illness or surgery can decrease the length of time you stay in the hospital and promote healing.

Easing concerns

To some people this may be scary. It means the nurses might be checking your blood sugar more often throughout the day. Typically, before each meal and at bedtime. They might dose insulin before meals to help correct any elevations in your blood sugar as well as to offset the elevations caused by any meals being consumed. It may also mean an injection of a long acting insulin once or twice a day to help control blood sugars overall. It does not mean you will go home on insulin and it certainly does not mean you will be on it for the rest of your life. Just as you may be able to treat pain you have at home with ibuprofen, you may need something stronger for pain in the hospital. Similarly, while an oral medication for type 2 diabetes might work for you at home, you might need insulin during your hospitalization.

Support

During a hospitalization, you might have questions regarding your diabetes care. At Parkview, your health care team will help you understand the treatment for your diabetes related to your individual needs. A certified diabetes educator may also be on your care team to answer questions and provide any diabetes management education or resources.

If you are not hospitalized, but have questions or education needs regarding your diabetes care, please contact the Parkview Diabetes Treatment Center at (260) 373-4280.

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