How to Sucessfully Navigate Parties as a Type 1 Diabetic

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Summer is officially HERE!!!!!! If you love those 4ths of July BBQs and Summer Birthday Bashes, it’s time to celebrate with friends and family that you haven’t seen in over a year thanks to Covid-19. As a diabetic parties can be difficult to enjoy without overwhelming anxiety. Figuring out things like what outfit will I wear that won’t show my medical devices too much, how many carbs are in that cake, or how should I bolus for that wine cooler? We will explore all of these issues and much more.

  1. Picking the perfect party outfit
  • Don’t wear open-toed shoes if there will be drinking and dancing
    • Someone with heels on could accidentally step on your foot
  • Don’t be afraid to wear the cute outfit even if your Pump or CGM shows
    • Most won’t notice and if they do its an opportunity to educate
  • If outside always wear sunscreen and don’t forget to reapply as directed
    • Sunburns will cause high blood sugars so best avoid it at all costs
  • Wear the fashionable hat
    • It will protect your face and scalp from any burns
  • Wear a medical ID bracelet or necklace
    • In case someone who doesn’t know you finds you passed out

2.  Eating and drinking at the party

  • Avoid sugary drinks like punch, lemonade, and sweet tea
    • Bring a few diet options for the party if water isn’t your thing
  • The cheese board is your friend at any party
    • Picking low carb options can take the stress out of any party
  • Consider eating before the party
    • So you know the carb count better
  • Keep an eye on your blood sugar if you consume alcohol
    • Alcohol tends to bottom out blood sugar (unless it’s a mixed drink with lots of sugar and carbs) since the liver responds to alcohol like a toxin and focuses only on removing it from the bloodstream it won’t process like normal.
  • Fix a plate count the carbs and pre-bolus for it
    • That way you don’t have to worry about remembering to take it later
  • Try to have only one dessert
    • If that isn’t good enough just have one bite of each dessert but don’t go over 4-5 bites total

3. Check your blood sugar before during and after the party

  • Having food and drinks you aren’t used to
    • keeping a close eye on blood sugars and making correction doses
  • Drinking alcohol may cause your food not to be absorbed for a few hours
    • keeping a close eye on blood sugars realizing your insulin and food may take a while to absorb in your liver after alcohol

4. Take other’s suggestions with a grain of salt

    • Aunt Karen’s advice on not eating that cookie is probably based on what she knows about uncle Vernon’s type 2 diabetes
      • Take the opportunity to educate her on type 1 or just say “uh-huh” and move on. Sometimes you just don’t even feel like fighting that battle with the ignorant Karens of the world.

5. Have a designated “buddy” at the party

  • to help check on you or split a dessert or drink with
    • it could be a date or a best friend or family member
  • If you don’t know many people there inform the host that you are diabetic so they can keep an eye out for you if anything goes wrong

By: Miranda Montgomery (Type 1 diabetic for 20+ years) Admin for Type 1 Diabetes Support Group on Facebook with 14 K members.