Any advice?

By lldmbro06 Latest Reply 2010-10-04 12:28:32 -0500
Started 2010-09-26 22:40:45 -0500

I was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes about a month ago.. I can't seem to get my glucose levels under control because they keep going up and down.. I'm doing everything my doctor's tell me to do. I'm obeying there orders to the letter but it isn't working. Any advice on how to stabilize them?

38 replies

Elrond 2010-10-02 07:14:26 -0500 Report

I can only echo what Richard said. I struggled with diabetes for more than 30 years and my sugar was never under control for most of that time. I suffered a near-fatal stroke followed by a near-fatal heart attack as a result. What finally got me on track was learning to count carbs. Once I understood the relationship between the carbs I was eating and the insulin I was taking, the rest was relatively simple. My A1C dropped from 15 to 7.5 in less than 6 months and my doctor doesn't want it any lower due to my cardiac condition. A nutritionist would be a huge help but you can do a lot on your own by studying a good book on carbohydrates. Calorie King has a great one and there are many others. There's no need to starve yourself; I consider myself to be a gourmet chef. But be very selective in what you eat and be sure to match your insulin intake to your carb intake. Try to find a Certified Diabetes Educator (CDE) who can help you work out a proper carb to insulin ratio. If you must do it on your own, experiment; keep a careful log of the carbs you eat and how much insulin you take with them. Study that log and see if you can notice a pattern. That's the slow, difficult way but it's better than nothing. And don't forget exercise. Even moderate walking will lower your BG a surprising amount. Give it a try. Above all, hang in there. Keep working for better control. And good luck.

Richard157 2010-10-01 10:19:35 -0500 Report

I don't have time to read the 29 replies that have been made. Maybe this suggestion has already been made. The most helpful thing in getting my good control was carb counting. I know how many carbs I am going to eat in every meal and snack. I need 1 unit of bolus insulin for every 6 carbs. That is how I determine my bolus dosages. (That is my insulin:carb ratio. My ratio is 1:6, but yours may be 1:10 or 1:15. It varies a lot among insulin users.) I had far fewer highs and lows after I started using carb counting. My A1c has been below 6.0 for many years. That is primarily due to carb counting. In 2007 I started using an insulin pump. Pumping has improved my control even more.

It is surprising how many type 1 diabetics do not use carb counting. Some diabetics have not heard of it. Carb counting is much better than using a sliding scale.

Justin Cowden
Justin Cowden 2010-09-30 19:31:06 -0500 Report

I have a lot of suggestions. One would be Apple cider vinegar. It tastes awful but it works great, a couple of caps full mixed with Water, 3 times a day, along with Exercise will help keep your numbers lower than 200. You should also start logging everything you eat and see what exercise and The vinegar does to your numbers. you will eventually have to adjust your bolus. Everyone is different and it takes time to figure it out. But only you know how your body reacts to things. I got diagnosed a year ago, and was really frustrated with the up and down numbers, but once you figure out how your body responds, it becomes a lot easier. Just remember, emotions also affect you numbers too. So put on a happy face! hahahah! just kidding. Welcome to the club. It can actually be a really rewarding club to be a part of.
God Bless!

david cee
david cee 2010-09-29 10:58:49 -0500 Report

I am a recovering alcoholic. 5 months dry. Since I quit drinking the doctors have told me that alcohol makes it hard to control blood sugars, causes neuropathy , permeant brain damage, etc. All I know is I no longer take insulin & my BG seems under control.
Not to say you drink but just sharing my recent learning.

billyelle 2010-09-28 15:53:40 -0500 Report

HI, I've had type I for almost three months now and I am having a terrible time getting my levels stable. I am very frustrated and my CDE tells me to eat whatever I want, just cover it with enough insulin. But, I found out that it's not that simple. Sometimes, you spike up three hours after the meal if there was fat in the food, like Mexican food, pizza, or ice cream. By the time the food hits, the insulin is no longer performing at full strength and you have to correct your levels by injecting more insulin. I am getting to where I am going to stop eating these foods until I can get more control of my levels. I feel like I"m not getting a proper education and I have started reading books and am thinking about getting a phone with the internet so that I can look up carb counts when I am out to eat.

This is all to let you know that you are not alone in your frustration and hopefully we'll get this right at some point. Good luck.

Crashnot 2010-10-01 21:25:47 -0500 Report

Foods with a lot of fat, like pizza, take longer for your body to process, and may result in having lows later on. With a pump you can take a wave bolus, that spreads your insulin dose out over time to accomodate the digestion. If you on inections, of course, you'll have to take a dose a little later or have a snack.

Complex carbs are always easier on the sugars than simple carbs too!

Hops 2010-09-30 15:59:21 -0500 Report

There is no one way of stabilizing the blood sugar. One problem results if you are counting carbs but forget to eat some protein and fat to stretch out the carbs you are eating. Then your sugar will crash within about two hours of eating. Eat protein and healthy fats like you get from almonds and walnuts or fish.

I keep a detailed log each day including the time I get up each morning, my BG, the quantity of insulin injected and the the quantity of food I have for each meal and snack. Then I record my 2 hour post prandial test
and any adjustments I need to make to increase or lower my BG.
I also log my daily exercise routine.

Starting my 43rd year managing insulin dependent diabetes this week. No two days are ever the same. Diabetes keeps me humble. Learned not to put too much emphasis on a single BG reading. Focus on how you feel and what
the range is between your BG highs and lows.

My diabetes routine seems simple to most because I have been doing it for so many years. It takes daily discipline to manage diabetes. Like most everyone else you will have bad days and good days.

I have a great support group of IDDM and IRDM. We all help each other with practical advice that we share at our meetings once every two weeks in Minneapolis.

Be well.

billyelle 2010-09-30 21:01:27 -0500 Report

Since you've had diabetes for so long, I'm curious: do you eat whatever you want and cover it with enough insulin even if you have to split the doses or do you just find that it's easier to skip certain foods?

Hops 2010-09-30 23:06:17 -0500 Report

I developed a taste for healthier foods. Sweets now have no attraction.
Fresh organic vegetables are good in moderation. I have no desire to eat whatever I want. Anyone who does that and takes extra insulin to cover will gain weight. I drink one or two beers a week and a glass of Red Zinfandel. The key for me is enjoying life and never thinking about eating tasty things which will shorten my life. FYI I am 6' 2" and weigh 164 at the age of 56. I love staying athletic. I walk several miles a day. At my neighborhood tavern
friends joke about how unusual it is for someone to drink only one beer which is like one carb exchange.

The fun part is every day is a learning experience managing what you do, what you eat, how much insulin injected, and comparing my results to previous days.

Does this help? Hope so.


billyelle 2010-10-01 10:21:36 -0500 Report

thanks, Tim. I really don't want to give up a few things and weight is not a problem for me as I am thin enough for my age. I am 57 and don't care to be a walking toothpick even if it is the desired look of most women. I have always kept a good diet and exercised regularly. In other words, with the exception of my love of ice cream and cake, I have always eaten a healthy diet. I have tried giving up all sweets, only to get too thin. So, I will attempt to keep pizza and ice cream in my diet once a week as a treat by dividing my doses and see how that goes.

Do you eat fruit? That seems to be a real spiker, but I also do not want to give those foods up either. If you have the time, could you tell me what a typical day of eating looks like for you. Thanks, Susan

Hops 2010-10-02 16:37:48 -0500 Report

I used to eat ice cream once a week. Now I have it only for my birthday.

Fresh fruit is great like strawberries, blueberries, I ate a banana before every Twins game when I'd walk 10 miles vending peanuts. Fresh cantaloupe is great too. Has your BG testing helped you learn which fruits you handle best?

Usually I have a serving of fresh fruit for my appetizer. When my sugar is within 20 points of 100 either way I delay my fruit appetizer for 10 to 15 minutes. Then the fruit has been had by the time my Humalog starts going to work.

When I eat pizza it is no more than a single slice. I enjoy pizza once a month. Eating a slice of pizza with a 16 ounce beer is about as crazy as I get.

I like to drink a quart of fresh water each day. I figure if water helped Ghandi fast for a month then it has to be a great way to fill yourself up when you are bit hungry without causing a sugar spike.

Be sure only to have cream with your coffee. Sometimes a medium latte is a tasty snack with all that milk. Without any exercise though a medium latte will send me up above 150. When I walk two miles drinking my 16 ounce latte everything remains in balance.


billyelle 2010-10-04 11:04:09 -0500 Report

Thanks for writing back Tim. I have another question. When you say that a medium latte will send you above 150, do you mean after testing two hours after you drink it?

Also, have you ever tried taking apple cider vinegar a couple of times a day? I've read that that can keep your levels more even. Susan

Hops 2010-10-04 11:57:07 -0500 Report

You are welcome. What will happen is I go for my walk down to the coffee shop 7 blocks away. Once I get there after also doing my post prandial finding everything copacetic then if I get a 12 ounce latte
my sugars will rise in the neighborhood of 175 too 200. By that time the my breakfast humalog has burned out. Then a single unit of humalog and walking back the 7 blocks returns me to 120 to 100.

Is apple vinegar good enough? Never has either.

billyelle 2010-10-04 12:28:32 -0500 Report

I don't know if apple vinegar is good enough or if it's different than apple cider vinegar. I buy an all natural unfiltered one at the health food store. I still don't know if it works. I'm in the experimental stage, but I have not had the spikes quite as bad, but I'm also experimenting with the timing of when I take my novalog when I eat. It's all very confusing, but I keep working on it and will continue to experiment.

kdroberts 2010-09-29 08:02:32 -0500 Report

It's a good idea to cut problem foods out until you have a handle on it. With the high fat stuff like pizza, a lot of people split the dose so you take some when you start and the rest at different points later on. Unfortunately that's something you have to figure out. I find for pizza I need about 25% more insulin that I think, 50% of it up front, 25% of it about 45 minutes later and then the rest about 90-120 minutes after I started to eat.

lldmbro06 2010-09-28 23:00:56 -0500 Report

I know what you're going through.. That's the exact same thing my CDE told me but she did tell me to be careful with fatty foods and pizza, especially… Don't worry, you'll figure it out soon. That's what I am going to do. Just be sure to keep you head up high and good luck to you as well..

Dr Gary
Dr GaryCA 2010-09-27 22:22:48 -0500 Report

Hi! Glad you are reaching out to your friends here on DC. I just wanted to let you konw that I am cheering for you!!!

Jeanette Terry
Jeanette TerryPA 2010-09-27 15:54:50 -0500 Report

I have found that the best way to regulate your glucose levels is to find a routine. Eat similar foods each day at similar times each day. If I do this for a little while at least then my levels usually even out somewhat to where I have better control and can regulate my insulin better also. But everyone is different and their bodies react differently. But that is what has helped me the most over the years.

lldmbro06 2010-09-28 10:44:26 -0500 Report

That sounds like a great idea.. I've been worried about bringing my sugars all the way down, but i think what i should do first is bring them to a same level.. I think i could benefit from having my sugars in around the same level right?

Jeanette Terry
Jeanette TerryPA 2010-10-04 12:05:48 -0500 Report

yeah it is always easier for me to control them when they don't vary a whole lot, but that is really hard for me to keep all the same all of the time. And I don't know that even if they are all about the same, it probably isn't good if they are all high. As you figure out what foods your body reacts best to I would stablize your diet then it is easier for your blood sugars to come down to a normal level. That is the experience that i have had anyway.

mo91108 2010-09-27 12:06:19 -0500 Report

I was recently dianosed with in April of this year. And I have to say, I must be blessed because my honeymoon phase hasn't sent me on my rollercoaster (yet) but are you taking fast acting insulin with your long lasting insulin? Have you seen a CDE or RD yet? Message me if you'd like, and we can see if I can help at all.
Good Luck
- Monica

lldmbro06 2010-09-27 12:09:05 -0500 Report

Well I'd love to message you and I would greatly appreciate any advice at all. I know you can relate a lot to what I am going through. So you'll probably be a lot of help. Thanks

GabbyPA 2010-09-27 09:11:41 -0500 Report

No two people are exactly alike. The advice your doctor gives you is there to guide you. If it is not producing the results you seek, talk to him and tell him so. If you are keeping good records, he can look at those and see where the work needs to happen.

It is a roller coaster ride to be sure, and like Sc1boy said, it takes time to get the body used to the new medications and lifestyle changes. The point is that you are working for it, and that is great. Don't let the ups and downs frustrate you too much, let them inspire you to figure things out instead.

lldmbro06 2010-09-27 11:55:36 -0500 Report

That's true. One of my friends was able to get his glucose levels under control in about 3 weeks. I guess I just have to give it some more time and continue trying hard. Thank you.

kdroberts 2010-09-27 12:01:05 -0500 Report

But was he diagnosed with type 1? Getting used to type 1 can be a struggle and it's very common to be all over the place. I know a lot of people who it's taken a year or so to get to a point where everything is running smoothly. You have to see what works and then adapt.

lldmbro06 2010-09-27 12:04:13 -0500 Report

Well he has Type 2 but he was so out of control at first that he started with insulin.. Now he uses pills. Does that happen often?

kdroberts 2010-09-27 12:22:41 -0500 Report

Yes, it happens although I would personally chose insulin over pills. Mostly type 2's don't have the type of swings that a type 1 will have and usually have the "safety net" of having their own insulin production.

mo91108 2010-09-27 12:31:23 -0500 Report

Swings is when your BS goes from normal to outta control and vise versa. The safety net is that T1 diabetics don't produce insulin and T2 diabetics do. So they can use insulin to control the sugars better us.

kdroberts 2010-09-27 12:50:35 -0500 Report

Not really easier, just different in a lot of cases. For instance, if you don't take enough insulin then your blood sugar will go high, maybe dangerously high. If a type 2 doesn't take enough and they can still produce it, the natural insulin production may cover the gap. However, for a lot of type 2's it is very much about eating a restricting diet which a type 1 can certainly do but you also have the option to use insulin to cover foods you want to eat.

Another is that usually type 1's are very insulin sensitive which means a small error either way in insulin can lead to very high or dangerously low blood sugar. A lot of type 2's on insulin are not as insulin sensitive so a small error is usually not as big of a deal.

You also have the side effects of pills and the inefficiency of them to really manage the problem, not to mention that a type 2's problem is often not an easy one to find or address.

Once you get the understanding of insulin use down and figure out your own body then you will be fine. Neither one is easier than the other long term, type 1 just has a steeper learning curve at the start.

lldmbro06 2010-09-28 10:46:59 -0500 Report

Wow.. That makes a lot of sense.. And it's true, both of them have the same risk i believe. And like you said, Type 1 just takes a little longer to learn..

mo91108 2010-09-27 12:15:48 -0500 Report

It can happen a lot with type 2 diabetics, but people who have T1 usually take insulin for the rest of their lives, but don't let that discourage you. You can still live a happy healthy life with no complications.

kdroberts 2010-09-27 12:24:00 -0500 Report

Type 1's will always take insulin for the rest of their lives. Well, unless they get an experimental procedure that might or might not work and requires lifelong immunosupressive drugs.

sc1boy 2010-09-27 08:44:38 -0500 Report

it does take some time so u dont have to worry it takes more thatn a month to get them regulated just give it some time keep doing what the doc told u to and it will get better

lldmbro06 2010-09-27 11:54:35 -0500 Report

I hope so.. It's not easy and sometimes it seems like it's just way too much. But, you're right. I just have to hang in there a little longer and let the doctors do what they do..

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