One of the most integral parts of my diabetes management has been checking and tracking my BG levels at least 4 times every day. Not only is this important for knowing how you’re actually doing BG wise, but it’s also important for figuring out what triggers your highs, lows, and everything in between. My job requires me to analyze trends and figure out how to take advantage of them, so I might be adapting to the constant checking a little easier than most. Whether or not your job requires trend watching, it’s pretty easy to pick up and maintain as long as you have the right tools.
There a few apps on the market that are designed specifically for this task and will, to a point, analyze the trends for you. You can use good old Excel (or Numbers) to track your data if you already have the software. I’m a big fan of the MySugr app, which was recently launched in the US, but I also use Excel to keep track of my data. Testing and tracking my sugars has allowed me to notice some interesting things:
- Stress keeps my sugars pretty steady. I assumed the opposite would happen, but on workdays I’ve found that my sugars hover right around the 100 mark on days when I’m busy or stressed. This is good because I’m busy 110% of the time and being around 100 allows me to function like a pretty normal person.
- Chocolate and Starbursts have completely different effects on me. Thinking about it on a deeper level, this make complete sense. The sugar in chocolate takes longer to absorb because of the fat content, so the effect on blood sugars (at least mine) is more of a prolonged, low spike. Starbursts are pure sugar, so they spike my sugar like crazy right after I eat one or two, which makes them convenient to have around for when I’m low.
- Excluding water, drinks wreak havoc on my BGs. The day I have a PSL (pumpkin spice latte y’all) from Starbucks is the same day that I walk to and from Starbucks and walk around the block with my drink, because the latte will drive my BGs high if I don’t. The same applies for soda, gatorade, and of course juice. Water, on the other hand, keeps my numbers really low, think 80s, because it helps clean out my system. To keep water from getting boring, I add Nuun tablets or lemon juice, both of which have no effect on BGs.
From tracking my info, I’ve also figured out that I can skip my meal bolus if I’m working out after eating, it’s okay for me to eat within a +/- 1 hour window to maintain OK numbers, and fried food at ANY time is a bad idea. Seriously, who would have thought fried pickles would make you spike like crazy? Not this kid, that’s for sure. Anyways, that's what I've learned so far just from tracking my numbers in an app. I truly believe this is a great habit to get into, especially if you want to maintain tight control of you levels and A1C readings, and can be easy to maintain if you have the tools to do it!