my meter gave to me, a 146 mg/dl.
Well, we all know that this is the most wonderful time of the year. There are gatherings and celebrations almost every night – and for a person with T1D, this can be a little exhausting. Last night, I was really excited to have no plans other than eating my leftovers from fancy Monday night dinner the day before.
I finished dinner at 7. At 9:30, my bg was 176 mg/dl or so. The past couple nights I’ve corrected and gone a bit low, so I decided to be more conservative and take just 1 unit of insulin, even though what I probably needed was something like 1.3, as my correction is 1 unit for 60 mg/dl, roughly. What’s a correction dose? you ask – it’s a ratio to understand how much 1 unit of insulin will bring your blood sugar down from a static level. So for example, 1 unit should have brought me down to about 116 mg/dl if my correction factor was correct. But it’s never that simple. This is like the correction factor in a controlled weather chamber. So if we could separate everything else that has happened in the day out from this individual measurement of blood sugar, then we might be able to make a precise estimate such as this. But here’s the thing, so many factors affect blood sugar.
Let’s play a game. Guess which of the following do not affect blood sugar:
- fat content in a meal
- protein content in a meal
- exercise 2 hours ago
If you guessed baths, you fell for the trick! All of those things can affect blood sugar. In fact, I’ve been in a bath habit of late, because it’s relaxing, but it’s also caused me a few false lows. The heat of a bath or a shower can activate insulin such that you’ll have a blood sugar dip unexpectedly if you’ve injected insulin recently. For me, I tend to go low and then bounce back up. It seems like it is speeding up the insulin action, rather than magnifying its impact overall. For other people though, it might be a magnifying effect.
Anyway, I went to bed in the 140’s, I woke up at 2:30 AM in the 140’s, took roughly half a unit of insulin (which is a little tricky using insulin pens that only measure in 1 unit doses) and woke up at 6:40 at 146 mg/dl. Can I explain this? No. But my guess is that the fair amount of fat in my meal was slowly digesting and keeping my bg slightly elevated, despite the correction doses I took.
Moral of the story – in diabetes, nothing exists in a vacuum. No two days are the same. Rules make a complicated mess of factors sound simple when they are really not.