D' Blog Week: Day 4: I went with the Wildcard of getting physical. Managing diabetes during exercise can be tricky, so share what works for you or your loved one with diabetes and maybe it can help someone else. What do you do when you want to work out, but your blood sugar is lower or higher than you would want? How do you cope with this? Or how do you manage gym days at school for your child with diabetes?
I was living the dream...
Pancreating for a stubborn three year old who was as active as a rabid squirrel ingesting cases of Red Bull. Fast forward 10 years ... I've learned a few things about t1d and activity.
Never, ever, never, ever, never, ever, never, ever, never underestimate the power of IOB (Insulin On Board). If possible, I try to have Joe avoid a large bolus of insulin within 2 hours of a workout that will last for an hour or longer. We don't correct highs (up to 300) and do about 1/2 correction for a BG over 300, before a workout.
Never, ever, never, ever, never, ever, never, ever, never underestimate the domination of insulin. Joe's preferred sport is ice hockey. During practices, we struggle with lows. During games, we struggle with highs. For hockey practice, I decrease Joe's basal by 40-50% starting about 1 hour prior to practice and keep it decreased for the duration of practice. He typically drinks a chocolate milk (28 grams CHO) before practice to "boost" his BG. He drinks a Gatorade (another 20-something grams CHO) during practice. And he typically has a "free snack" (18-30 grams of CHO) after practice. During a game, his blood glucose will spike up to the high 200s to the 300s. We typically do a 1/2 correction after the game and this will bring his BG back into range.
Never, ever, never, ever, never, ever, never, ever, never underestimate the potency of insulin. Have access to plenty of fast acting sugar sources and longer acting carbohydrates during periods of activity. Fast acting sugar is great for heading off an imminent low and then follow-up with something more complex to keep that number up.
In addition to our ice capades...
Joe also participates on his school's track team. The practice is held at school, immediately after school is dismissed. I added a "sliding scale" of sorts on his daily diabetes log. I used to do something similar for PE days.
A person with t1d can be active; they, like all of us, should be active. Yes, they need to pay attention to BG trends and what works and what doesn't work. The above tips took years of logging and tweaking and will inevitably change over the next few years. Also, sugar sources are a must if you are going to work out. Have them on your person. Have a stash of change to buy sugar. I've had to raid vending machines after depleting our Skittles supply during hockey practices. Just be prepared for the unexpected. It happens. But, it shouldn't deter you from getting out there.
A behind the scenes look at what goes into an active day-in-the-life of living with t1d.