Jeanette Terry was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes when she was 11 years old, and she has since lived with diabetes through difficult life transitions, including the teenage years, college, and having children. She addresses the day-to-day struggles of living with diabetes—going beyond medical advice—to improve overall adherence and management.

No matter how long someone has lived with diabetes, it is still hard work. You have to be aware of what your body is doing at all times. No matter how experienced you feel at treating your diabetes, there are times that the blood sugar roller coaster is going to get the best of you. Everyone who lives with diabetes has a bad day here and there.

The key is to stay on top of it and correct it as soon as possible. One bad blood sugar reading can throw you off for days. If you don't correct it in just the right way, it can send your blood sugar levels skyrocketing or plummeting which starts a roller coaster of highs and lows. If too much insulin is given after a high blood sugar, it will drop rapidly, often creating a hypoglycemic low. If it is really low and you give too much, then it could shoot it right back up to where you don’t want it.

It takes a keen sense of awareness of your own body and the way it reacts to both insulin and sugar to accurately bring blood sugar levels back into a controlled range. Even then, it can take some time for blood sugar levels to even out.

The roller coaster of high and low blood sugars can cause frustration and make you tired or sick from the rapid change in blood sugar levels. The longer you are on the roller coaster, the sicker you will feel. The more sick you feel, the harder it will be to get control of not only your blood sugars, but many aspects of your life. Diabetes takes a lot of attention, but once you get control of it, other tasks in your life become easier to accomplish.

3 tips to stop the blood glucose roller coaster

  1. Take the time to accurately calculate what it will take to bring it back into normal range. If you are not sure what to do to correct it, test it out. If you overshoot, you will know next time to do a little less.

  2. Seek advice from your doctor or diabetes educator to help you find the right balance for corrections. They can give you a good place to start. Then, you'll have to tweak it to find out how your body reacts to insulin and the foods you eat.

  3. Deal with the aspects of your life that prevent you from concentrating on your health. Listen to your body. Eventually, you will be able to correct blood sugars faster. After that, those occasional bad days won't turn into bad weeks or months.

How do you deal with the blood glucose roller coaster? Share your tips in the comments below.