I thought it might be useful if people wanted to share some “hacks” that have improved their diabetes control recently.
First, a quick list of mine, then more detail underneath for people who are interested. (My apologies for the excessive length of this post.)
I hope others will contribute what works for them.
- Using steel infusion sets and pushing them into flesh that has been pinched hard.
- No morning bowl of cereal.
- Looking at Dexcom’s Clarity on my phone most nights.
- Starting my Dexcom G6 sessions from my pump.
- Using my arm for my Dexcom sensor and keeping it on the same side of my body as my pump.
- Watching the drop rather then correcting too soon.
I few provisos. These aren’t original ideas. People have posted and talked about them on different places on this site but I thought I’d bring my list together and hopefully others might share theirs. Also, these things have worked for me. No idea how well they’ll work for others. Finally, I’m hardly an exemplar of awesome blood sugar control, but things are better than they used to be partly, I think, because of these hacks.
Using steel infusion sets and pushing them into flesh that has been pinched hard.
Getting consistent absorption from pump infusion sites has always been hard for me. Switching to steel, and, more recently, really pushing them into flesh that I’ve pinched up has made them more consistent. I used to sort of “tap” the steel sets in and that didn’t always work consistently.
No morning bowl of cereal.
Maybe this would be a bigger deal to other people, but, to me, it wasn’t. I didn’t particularly like cereal, but it seemed like an easy breakfast and I went with low-sugar or no sugar cereals. Then my doctor told me that the grains in cereals like Cheerios are so ground up that they are absorbed pretty much like sugar. I still eat lots of carbs from time to time but starting the day with a burst of sugar absorption really didn’t work for me.
Looking at Dexcom’s Clarity most nights.
I’m not big on analyzing trends and adjusting basal and so forth (though I think it would be better for me if I were). And I don’t think it’s good to look at data that just makes one feel hopeless. But, Clarity’s “Goals” feature with Time in Range, is a fairly reachable mark for me and I find it motivating to hit it as often as I can. Plus, it does sometimes alert me to trends (i.e. high blood sugars in the later evening) that can point me towards taking action. I look at Clarity on my phone and it only takes me a minute or two so that’s more doable for me than generating a bunch of reports on my computer. Obviously, kudos to all who really put in the time and crunch the numbers.
Starting my Dexcom G6 sessions from my (Tandem) pump.
Not sure if this really counts as a hack…but, I’m kind of amazed that when I started my sessions from my iPhone by taking a photo, it switched to a “manual” (calibration-required) session more than half the time. Starting from the pump seems to get rid of that. (I just made the change so I don’t have enough sessions to be certain.) I don’t actually know whether it’s the photo part or the starting from the phone part that messes things up. I think Dexcom should alter their phone app or put out some kind of notice about this problem.
Using my arm for my Dexcom sensor and keeping it on the same side of my body as my pump.
It was hard having the abdomen “real estate” for both a pump and a sensor and for a while my Tandem pump was losing the signal all the time. When they’re on the same side of my body the communication is WAY better.
Putting the sensor on my arm, does sometimes create compression lows if I sleep on the same side of my body as the sensor. If anyone has a “hack” for compression lows, I’d love to hear it.
Watching the drop rather then correcting too soon.
This one is a work-in-progress since I’m pretty anxious about low blood sugars. But, I’ve been trying to let my blood sugar go down, sometimes rapidly, and waiting to see if it will level off on its own. Previously, I adhered to the (incorrect for BGs) “an object in motion tends to stay in motion” theory of blood sugar drops and would take action to blunt a rapid change. So, even if I was at 150 and I had double down arrows, my mindset was that I had better DO something before I was at 60. I still would take some action at that level if I’m doing vigorous aerobic exercise, but if I’m just say, walking briskly, I try to wait and see if those double down arrows start to level off on their own. Having Control-IQ helps me psychologically and possibly actually with this wait and see approach. This is my last one because it’s more aspirational than acheived and maybe it’s a bigger change than just a “hack”…
On that note, I don’t have a strict definition of what constitutes a “hack”, but I guess I’m thinking relatively minor changes rather than major lifestyle changes. For example, I’m pretty sure my blood sugar control would be a whole lot better if I ate a low-carb diet and maybe one day I will say goodbye to sushi, pizza and pasta, but, for me, that would be a major change and way more than a “hack.” (If anyone has the hack for bolusing for pizza, I want to know!)