At Hedia, we love encouraging a positive attitude. But what if you’re not having a positive experience with diabetes? Diabetes can truly suck; exhaustion is just as valid as an emotional response.
Diabetes sucks to the extent that fatigue may even develop. It’s not uncommon for people with diabetes to have fatigue (it can even have the dramatic name of Diabetes Fatigue Syndrome).
So, we want to explore this issue by looking into why fatigue and diabetes occurs.
If you’re a person with diabetes who puts up with this affliction, then we’ve also got some ideas for how to deal with it – including 5 ways for our app, Hedia Diabetes Assistant, to help! To get started (if you haven’t already) get Hedia at the App Store and Google play!
Why Fatigue and Diabetes are Linked
Fatigue is a condition of weariness that is constant or nearly constant, according to the Australian state of Victoria’s “Better Health”. It’s more than just being tired.
Diabetes can be tiresome even on the best of days. But why can diabetes be more than just tiredness? What causes the fatigue?
The causes can be divided into two groups: psychological and physical. There is no clear consensus on which group is the main cause.
For instance, this study (which also revealed that about 40% of people with type 1 diabetes were fatigued), concluded that the fatigue is more to do with behavioural variables (i.e. the psychological). Meanwhile, diabetes.co.uk recognises the role of blood glucose (i.e. the physical).
Overall, it’s not unreasonable to assume that both have a part to play in fatigue and diabetes. Here’s why!
The link between tiredness and diabetes is well-known. We’ve even written about diabetes and sleep before. It’s not surprising, then, that the psychological state that comes with tiredness can develop into fatigue.
Simply put, diabetes can be a large psychological burden. Diabetes is mentally exhausting: that’s why people with diabetes are our heroes for handling it!
Tiredness is a symptom of both hypo- and hyperglycemia. As such, fatigue and diabetes is a logical consequence of low and high blood glucose. It’s to do with not getting enough energy from glucose.
Want to know what happens when blood sugar is low or high? With low blood glucose, the body has too little glucose in the system, often as a result of too much insulin.
Meanwhile, with high blood glucose, the glucose is essentially stuck in the bloodstream because of a lack of insulin.
Other symptoms of hypo- and hyperglycemia might add to the sense of fatigue. For hypoglycemia these can include headaches, hunger, shaking, and irritability.
For Hyperglycemia, symptoms can include blurred vision, thirst, difficulty concentrating, and headaches again (diabetes and headaches seems to be a common issue).
Hypos and hypers can be resolved fairly practically and swiftly (see How to fix low Blood Sugar and How to Reduce Blood Sugar Level Immediately).
Nonetheless, it would be misleading to suggest that treating highs and lows will solve fatigue immediately. It doesn’t quite work like that. Let’s see why next.
“Fixing” Fatigue and Diabetes
Considering that fatigue is a more intense version of tiredness, it must be resolved with that complexity in mind. Alleviating fatigue means taking time to look after all areas of a person’s wellbeing.
For instance, medication (aside from insulin) can also contribute to a person’s experience of fatigue. Even food and diabetes will play a role. Consult with a doctor to try to get to the bottom of any hidden factors with fatigue and diabetes.
The mental health side of fatigue and diabetes is a whole other kettle of fish. Feeling better mentally takes time in itself. Try to take steps to both relax and to talk about your situation.
Bearing all that in mind, we’ve come up with a list of ways in which Hedia’s Diabetes Assistant might be able to help with alleviating fatigue.
It’s not an immediate “cure” but using Hedia could be a practical step in the right direction of feeling better.
5 ways Hedia could Help with Fatigue and Diabetes
1. Less effort on maths
Many people without diabetes don’t realise that diabetes has a great deal to do with numbers. You need to count how many carbs in food. Then there’s the insulin dosage. Or the correction dose. And the blood glucose levels.
Hedia can carry the weight of that effort with its calculations: learn more about the insulin calculator or carb calculator and diabetes right here. Maths ought only to exhaust you when you’re trying to split the bill at a restaurant!
2. Fewer steps to consider
You could save both time and your feeling of wellbeing by letting Hedia take over some of the steps. You don’t need to try to remember your blood glucose reading or write it down: it can be entered automatically and wirelessly to Hedia directly from your NFC or Bluetooth Glucose Meter.
You can also let Hedia find the number of carbs for you by using the food database with over 1700 food items.
3. Greater control of blood glucose
When you use Hedia’s recommendations for carb and insulin amounts, you’re less likely to be at the whim of miscalculations.
This should hopefully give you more desirable blood glucose readings. In turn, this would mean that you’re less likely to be at the whim of the effects of hypos and hypers. Cut down on the unpleasant symptoms by cutting down on hypos and hypers!
4. Forget no more
Worried about forgetting to take medicine? We’ve got you covered there too. You can set up Hedia so that you get reminders as notifications on your mobile device. That’s another thing off your mind.
5. Clear space, clear mind
It’s both tedious and tiring to write down your blood glucose readings and other notes on various papers and documents. Use the diabetes logbook to stay organised and keep on top of things!
Any data you use for a calculation – blood glucose, carbs, activity, insulin, or even time of day – can be added to your logbook immediately. You can also make your own separate entries to the logbook.
Get your logbook entries in PDF form to be saved to your computer, sent by email, or printed off – no need to think about carrying notebooks with you to the doctor!
And for an overview, the diabetes dashboard will give you a personalised presentation of your active insulin, most recent blood glucose reading, and time-in-range.
We want to help you relax by bringing the tidiness to you.
Slowly but Surely
Fatigue has many facets; that’s what makes it so exhausting! So, really, it’s about taking time to explore the different ways in which you can help yourself.
Slowly but surely look into the different facets such as medication, mental health, sleep, food, or anything else that plays a role in your life.
With fatigue and diabetes, it’s likely that diabetes itself plays a huge role. And so, using a tool to help with the practical treatment of diabetes will hopefully reach the root cause of this extreme tiredness.
This is what Hedia is all about: we want to help you to help yourself. Let’s try to make diabetes suck less and not get exhausted in the process!