I was diagnosed with T2 a little over 3 years ago. I have been on the pump for about a month now. I am finding I’m too paranoid about my Blood Sugar rising or falling too far. More so falling. I have read about people passing out from BG’s being too low. I have never experienced that, and really don’t want to. It dropped to 40 one time, and thought I was having an earthquake and sweating and stuff, but I had some glucose in the frig and that brought it back up. The problem is I have trouble getting the carbs exact on certain items, so I guesstamate some of them. Then I worry about taking too much insulin, and consequently I’m checking my BG about every 1 and a half or 2 hours. Is this normal when you first start on fast acting insulin, or am I just being too paranoid? Does counting carbs become easier? Will I ever get to where I don’t have to worry constantly that my blood sugar is going to bottom out? How many times a day should I be checking my blood sugar? I know–this is like a bunch of questions, but I’m knew at this pump thing, and need all the help and advice I can get. I feel like I’m all alone down here in south Georgia, its a little bit scary to be honest, and its only through all of you that I feel encouraged. So please bare with me, til I get this down to a fine art–if that’s possible. Peace to all of you, and thanks for putting up with my incessant questioning.
I always seem to be first on the scene for you, Bobby! I’ll give you my opinions.
I have had diabetes (type 1) for over 18 years and have been on a pump since June of 2000. I have never actually passed out from a low. That doesn’t mean that many people don’t. I just never have. If I go low in the middle of the night, I’ve always woken up. If I need food, I’ve always been able to find it. I lived alone for a few years, too, before my husband and I were married. Lows are frightening because you can lose consciousness, but truth be told, they do less long-term damage to your body than the highs. I think it’s perfectly normal to fear lows. It’s scary!
As for how often to test your BG levels, everyone has a different testing style. If you are pumping and counting carbs with fast-acting insulin, I think it’s safe to say that you should test upon waking, before meals, 2 hours after meals, before and after exercise, and before bed. I test anywhere from 8-12 times per day. When I was on shots, I did 4. So…at least 4?
If you haven’t read these yet, you really ought to check out a few great books our members here suggest. John Walsh’s “Pumping Insulin” and Gretchen Becker’s “Type 2 Diabetes: The First Year” are excellent. I think that both would really help you with some of your questions.
And of course, always ask here.
Thanks, Melissa, for always taking the time to answer my questions. I appreciate it. I’ll check out the books.
I test 8-10 times a day. I’m not on a pump & am Type 1. Immediately upon waking, before meals, two hours after meals & before going to bed. If I think I’m low (shaking hands, feeling foggy & ditzy), I test. If I think I’m high (my head pounds), I test for a correction dose. I also test before getting in the car if I’m driving far & it’s been a while since I’ve eaten.
Testing frequently is good!
I’ve had lows, but nothing I couldn’t feel coming on. I keep jelly beans in my car, kitchen, desk drawer & on my bedside table (along with a spare meter). Each jelly bean is 1 carb, For me, each jelly bean raises my BG 10 points consistently. I don’t like jelly beans, so no danger of overeating them:) They’re a lot cheaper than glucose tabs.
Even if you get the carbs exact, it’s still takes educated guessing to dose properly. Too many other factors play into it. Can’t speak for anyone else, but I don’t think counting carbs is hard once you get used to it. I started out eating simply & avoiding prepared foods. Was a huge adjustment for me because we always ate out frequently before my diagnosis. I bought an Eat Smart scale. Best investment I made! It gives the carbs (& weight of course) for 999 foods. Also gives protein, fat, sodium & other calculations. I just use it for weight & carbs.
I have been using a pump for about 6 months and I still get a little paranoid and a little off when it comes to bolusing my dinner meals…you aren’t alone.
It does take time and at least you have TuD;)
I have never passed out from a low… The lowest i’ve been was 34. I caught it, treated it and Thank God I didn’t pass out because I was prego at the time. I test about 5-6 times a day. You have to find out what works for you and it comes with a little trial and error. I would recommend calling your insurance company to see what the max number of strips they’ll pay for each month and go from there. You’ll prob have to fight them to pay for anything over 6x a day; you should be fine.
The book Melissa mentioned “Pumping Insulin” is awesome. It helped me a lot. It’s also good to have just for personal reference.
(I still don’t know your name), I actually just got on Amazon right after I read Melissa’s response and ordered that book.
My name is Cherise
I have passed out from low blood sugars. I have been T1 since 1986. I have been pumping since Nov. 2000. I have actually passed out more than once. One time we were on a trip with a church group and they ended up having to take me to the ER. That was not a fun experience. However, since becomming an “adult” (I’m still a kid at heart) I am more aware of what is going on and that I need to take better care of myself. My insurance will only pay for testing 4 times per day. That is annoying because many days I have to test more than that because of lows or highs. Test strips are not cheap and we are a one income family. I am a stay-at-home-mom. Anyway, your paranoia is VERY normal. I have been T1 for 22 years and I am still paranoid a lot. However, being overly paranoid could wreak havoc on your BGs. Stress can do weird things to your body. Try not to get too upset over it. Try to relax and do what feels right for you. Hope this helps and you feel more at peace with you T2. It will get easier.
Counting carbs gets easier. I promise. But sometimes, it’s just never right. You think you have it and you are way off. I’ve been counting carbs for 12 years now, and pumping for 2 and 1/2. It gets easier. And my advice is to test as much as you want to. I was testing about 10 times per day before I went on CGMS. Now I test 4 to 6 times per day.
It just depends on what you are comfortable with.
I’ve passed out many times… I quit counting. It hasn’t happened since I switched to the pump and CGMS (continuous glucose monitoring system).
If I were you I’d check about 10 times a day. I know it’s a pain but many of us are doing it.
Bobby, I know carb counting can be tough… but it’s something you have to learn to be good at. Here’s what I currently use to maintain accurate carb counts:
A nutrition scale:
It will help you count the carbs & fiber accurately in anything you eat. I’m pasting the link for the one I use. http://www.eatsmartproducts.com/
Some carb counting reference material for when you eat out:
I use this book all the time: 2008 CalorieKing Calorie, Fat & Carbohydrate Counter
I’m here to help, contact me with any more questions.
I intend to buy the nutrition scale as soon as funds allow.
I went to see my diabetes educator today and she was freaking out looking at my pump and how many times I check my blood sugar everyday. Its only 13, 14, 15 times a day. Maybe I can back off that now. So far I’ve only one that was close to getting low and it was 60. I’m just paranoid because I’ve never used fast acting insulin. Anyway, thanks for tips and the encouragement. I appreciate it.
Hi Bobby and yes carb counting gets so much easier. Plus you will be amazed at how much information your brain stores for recall about certain repeat food items. I check my BG alot it is because I am a fast riser and fast dropper, in fact I drop as fast as sugar can raise my by which only takes about 3 to 5 minutes. So yep I am paranoid and I will stay that way until I smooth out a bit more. I have a CGM now that is helping. On shots it was insane, pump gave me life back so the CGM I hope will give me some balance in my BG. Today I have spent the whole day under 225 for my 2 hour post meal and on my target 4 hour post meal which is awesome for me but I went low 43 after lunch and now I am testing my faith in my CGM :). I check about every 2 hours unless I am not feeling right. I am working on checking a bit less often but I don’t like surprises so it will be a while.
Take Care and be loved
I am trying just today to stop checking my BG so much. Maybe 15 times a day is too much. : )
Besides, I need to call and see how many test strips my insurance will cover. I’ve never used this many before, so I don’t know. I’m sure they won’t pay for 13 or 14 a day though. I just have to make sure I get my carbs as close as I can, and don’t eat stuff I ain’t supposed to be eatin’. Like ice cream. How can you not eat ice cream?
Oh boy Ice cream This is tough cause there is so much fat. I do a square wave for it and I make sure it is measured. I don’t eat ice cream often though but when I really really want it that’s how I handle it. Most of the time it works out the other times it does not it means I over ate ice cream which is such a yummy thing to do
Be loved I am sure you are