I’ve been living with type 1 diabetes for over 23 years now. I’ve come a long way since being diagnosed in elementary school. I went from my parents being the ones in control of my diabetes – making my lunches, dosing my insulin, checking my blood sugars – to having to control my diabetes on my own.
Seems so simple. All you have to do is check your blood sugars, count your carbs and bolus accordingly. Ha! I wish it was that easy. Here’s a spoiler: it’s much more complex than that. Everything contributes to your glucose outcome.
Stress can cause your blood sugar to spike. This is one is hard to avoid. No one lives a completely stress-free life, and it’s hard to know how much extra insulin to take to correct a bolus because of it.
Exercise can cause your glucose to drop and spike. This depends on many things and can defer from person to person. Weight training tends to higher your glucose reading, whereas cardio normally* lowers your glucose. Although there have been times when I have gone for a run when my glucose was 7.9mmol/g and when I checked my glucose after finishing my run, it was at 12mmol/g! Other times I’ve gone from 8.0 to 3.2mmol/g in a matter of 15 minutes of running.
*depends person by person, this is based on my own personal experience
Hormones can create havoc and really cause mayhem with your blood sugars. A lot of females notice a spike in there glucose before they start their period, or while on their period. Sometimes it feels impossible to correct, you keep taking insulin and your glucose keeps rising. Many T1 women who are pregnant notice their blood sugars are nearly impossible to control because of the height in hormone levels.
Medications that you need to take because you are sick can cause your glucose to spike as well – cough medicine, pain killers and more. Make sure the doctor who prescribes your medication knows that you have diabetes, this can change what they prescribe.
Being sick not only sucks, it can raise and lower your blood sugars. If you have the flu and can’t keep anything down, this can cause your sugars to drop fast. On the other hand, fevers and colds tend to raise your blood sugars. I’m not a doctor, so I don’t exactly know why this happens, all I know is that it does, and it’s frustrating. Who wants to be checking their glucose every hour when you can’t even get out of bed!
RELAX, WE’VE ALL BEEN THERE
As unpleasant as it is, we’ve all been there. We can’t always have control, even though we may try our hardest to. Stressing over your glucose will just add to your stress which will then increase your glucose. So relax. Go for a walk. Go out with a friend Take it day by day. If your glucose won’t do down, contact your doctor.
A great way to relax about your BG numbers, is to write everything down and look for trends. This way you can change a basal rate or adjust a insulin to carb ratio where needed. Check out these cute Blood Sugar and Carb logs!
CONTROL – IT IS IMPORTANT
Although, we shouldn't stress out too much when our sugars are higher when we are sick or when there are explanations for it. We should also keep in mind that our healthy glucose range is between 4.5 and 7.8*. As much as possible, this is where our glucose should land. When you’re having a hard time controlling your glucose, keep this in mind:
C – count your carbs.
O – obvious reasons your glucose is out of range, adjust insulin accordingly.
N – no added sugars. Try to steer clear of added sugars when your diabetes is not in control.
T – timing is everything. If you’re a female T1, are your glucose readings high because of hormonal changes? Adjust insulin accordingly.
R – relax, the more you stress over your glucose, the higher your glucose will get.
O – outdoors will help to relieve stress and can also help to lower your sugar levels.
L – learn what is making your glucose spike. Keep a diary of your daily activities, food intake and bolus measurements. Remember that if you can’t lower your blood sugar, call your doctor. The more you can tell them the better, which is why keeping a diary is important.
*talk to your doctor about what your healthy glucose range is
An awesome tool that can really help keep your bgs in range is a CGM or flash glucose monitor, like the Dexcom or Freestyle Libre. An insulin pump is another piece of useful technology that can really help control your blood sugars. I use an Omnipod–I love that it is tubeless! There are also Medtronic pumps, Tandem T:slim and others. Ask your endocrinologist to help you decide which CGM and Insulin pump will fit your lifestyle best!
Let us know how your day-to-day life has effected your diabetes. How did you fix these issues?
I am not a medical professional and should not be taken as such. I am only speaking from personal experience. Talk to your doctor about any health concerns you may have regarding your diabetes.