Type 1 or 2 diabetes and illness

If you are ill with type 1 or 2 diabetes, more glucose is released into your bloodstream and your body becomes resistant to insulin.

If you are ill, more glucose is released into your bloodstream and your body becomes resistant to insulin, which can mean a rise in your blood glucose levels, so you may need to take a higher dose of insulin.

Use the following ‘sick day rules’ to take extra care of your diabetes.

  1. Call your healthcare team if you need help.
  2. Keep taking your insulin and/or other diabetes medications even if you don’t feel like eating. You might need more than usual.
  3. Test your blood glucose levels more often
  4. Stay well hydrated. Have lots of unsweetened drinks to avoid dehydration
  5. Eat little and often, and have carbohydrate-containing drinks if you cannot keep food down.
  6. Check for ketones, and contact your healthcare team if they are present.


Read more about self-care with type 1 or 2 diabetes

  • Pregnant woman on exercise mat stretching.

    Type 1 or 2 diabetes in pregnancy and diet and exercise

    Keeping your blood glucose levels within safe limits is a hugely important part of managing your diabetes, but you also need to think about your physical well-being.

  • Woman's blood sugar levels being tested.

    Hypoglycaemia and pregnancy

    Hypoglycaemia happens when your blood glucose levels drop too low. This is more likely to happen if you treat your diabetes with insulin. If you treat you diabetes with diet or metformin alone, you are generally not at risk.

  • Blood sugar level testing sticks.

    Hyperglycaemia and pregnancy

    Hyperglycaemia is caused by blood glucose levels rising too high.

  • Woman testing her glucose levels.

    Hypos and hypers

    While you are pregnant, you will be at much higher risk of hypoglycaemia – especially in the early weeks. At the same time, you may not have your usual early warning signs (hypo unawareness), and the symptoms may be more severe than usual.

  • Woman injecting insulin.

    Using insulin in pregnancy

    Whatever treatment you were using to control your diabetes before you became pregnant may change. If you were using tablets, you may have to start using insulin.

  • Woman testing her glucose levels.

    Testing your glucose levels

    Managing your blood glucose levels can be much harder after you become pregnant. As your body changes, so do your blood glucose levels.

More sections on type 1 or 2 diabetes in pregnancy

Last reviewed on September 1st, 2015. Next review date September 1st, 2017.

Was this information useful?

Yes No


Your comment

Add new comment