Today we’re discussing the effect of our environments on how we manage our diabetes. This is especially important as of this recording because we’re right in the middle of the global COVID-19 pandemic, which has absolutely affected the environment we’re in and for many people, affected their diabetes too.
What we want to talk about in this episode is not how your environment might trigger an inherent disposition to type 1 diabetes, but how our environments can directly affect how well we control it.
Wins & Fails
Colleen's Win: I think I’m getting better at preempting lows when going on my afternoon walk. I’ve been making sure I watch my blood sugar for the last hour of my work day and adjust insulin or have a Smartie roll so my pre-walk blood sugar is appropriate, and then turn off insulin ahead of time. I also carry Smarties with me for the 20-minute walk in case I need to catch it coming down. Because I’m working from home, I need a transition period to get me out of work mode and into home mode, and the walks are helping with that. I just don’t want to have a low blood sugar afterward! It also helps that I now have Control IQ, which has an exercise mode that adjusts the target range and stops or reduces basal rates when it predicts a low within 30 minutes.
Jessie's Fail: Jessie went to bed a couple of days ago and didn't know that she had a low reservoir. The alarm went off and she didn't process what that meant. So in the middle of the night, she got a couple of alarms, which woke her up, kind of. She turned them off and was too far gone to again comprehend what that meant. So in the morning, she changed out her site but luckily woke up with an 89 mg/dL blood sugar.
Hack of the Week
Use heat as a supplement for bringing down a high blood sugar. Make sure you’re properly hydrated, and wrap up in a heated blanket or jump in a hot shower. High temperatures make blood vessels dilate, which increases the rate that insulin gets absorbed. I sleep with a heated blanket and have to be careful about leaving it on high all night in case it causes my blood sugar to go too low. This ties in with the factors of the environment we talk about in this episode.
The spotlight this week is on JDRF, the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. They are leading the efforts to spread awareness that type 1 diabetes does NOT make you more at-risk for COVID-19 despite everyone else reporting diabetes as a risk factor. On March 24th, JDRF posted a “Coronavirus FAQ”. We discuss some of the FAQs in the episode.
Question for You!
Have noticed how your environment affects your diabetes? Has it been in a good way or a bad way?
Links & Resources
- Heat affects blood sugar (Piedmont Healthcare)
- 10 Surprising Things That Can Spike Your Blood Sugar (CDC)
- Diabetes and Cold Weather (Diabetes.co.uk)
- Children 'more likely to develop diabetes in winter than in summer' (The Telegraph)
- 42 Factors (diaTribe)
- What Makes Us Sick? Look Upstream (TED Talk)
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