I'm going to try and keep this quick and to the point, but (as I have come to realize with all things related to D) my question is a little more complicated than it might seem at first.
I was just diagnosed about a week ago - huge shock, and I found out by checking myself into the ER with what I thought was a bad parasite after a trip to Mexico (turns out I was going through DKA for a few days).
I lost a fair amount of weight from the DKA, so my CDE has told me to keep my activity level very low and let my body gain back its strength. I'm doing my best to follow her advice, but since running and mountain biking have been such a big part of what I've done for the last few years my days have felt pretty empty.
At my girlfriend's sister's place today they were taking down some trees after the Easter celebration and I couldn't help but get involved and get my hands dirty - hardly a long training run but the physical activity felt awesome. I checked my BG a couple of times and had a 10 point drop per hour (did about two hours of work) and then we had a late lunch. I definitely feel as though my strength isn't what it was even a few weeks ago but, again, it just felt good to be active.
My girlfriend and I have a trip planned to visit my family in India on April 16th and I anticipate a fair amount of walking/hiking while we're there (they live in mountains) - I'm not planning on starting to run, but I don't want to be afraid to go for long walks or hikes. So, I have a few questions:
What is the best way to get started measuring the effects of exercise on my BG?
Is it safer to exercise earlier in the day for starters so I can be more aware of potential lows, etc. instead of having them creep up while I'm asleep?
I know D is so different from person to person, but are there any ballpark figures (hrs. of exercise vs. BG points dropped, etc) to help get folks started?
I've heard a lot about aerobic vs. anaerobic and high vs. low intensity exercises and their relative effects on BG, is there any consistency there or is that a personal matter, as well?
Thanks so much in advance for any help - I am thrilled to be able to ask questions on this site! I'm happy to share any info that might be helpful - just let me know.
Thank you again!
Thanks for the reply Molly!
As far as my insulin goes, I am currently on Levemir for my long lasting (18 units, once daily - I take it at 10:30 at night) and Novolog for my fast acting/mealtime (I just picked up my new prescription of Humalog which I will switch to once my Novolog pen runs out - have you been on Humalog all along or did you get switched to it from a different fast acting insulin - if so, any challenges there?).
My I:C ratio is 1:13 and my correction factor is 50 and my BG target number right now is 120. My CDE was very up front with me that she was starting me conservatively, so when I meet with her this Thursday I wouldn't be surprised to see those numbers change.
Regarding my overall BG, it was still spiking over 300 one or two days out of the hospital, but it has stabilized a lot since then. I've had one morning where I woke at 140 and yesterday I woke at 129 - generally I'm in the range of 129-189 right out of bed, with my last meal generally being dinner around 7:30-8:00. There are some general patterns, but I've only been diagnosed for a week and a half so the picture is pretty incomplete. I do occasionally see a measurement in the mid 200's, but those usually drop pretty quickly. I've been instructed not to correct without food at this time - again, my CDE is being conservative in getting me acquainted with carb counting and insulin.
One of the biggest things I'm noticing is that because I'm on pens I can't adjust for small increments - for example, if the fast acting dose I calculate should be 3.5 units, I have to pick 3 or 4 units and considering how sensitive we all are to different carbs and insulin, that can make a big difference. I have rounded up when the increase in insulin isn't huge (usually .3 units or less) and those have probably resulted in some of my lower readings.
I'm testing a lot - and I'm sure I could test even more - but my hope is that having numerous (especially pre and post meal) measurements will give my CDE some good data to dig into.
I haven't experienced any lows yet, at least since my DX. However, in the past I've felt the symptoms of low blood sugar when I missed meals and would feel better as soon as I had some carbs. Despite those experiences, the last physical I had never gave any indications of T1 - I guess that's part of the mystery. (One of my co-workers, who has a lot of D in her family and is tested for it every 6 months, said she had episodes in college where she would pass out from low blood sugar but every test for D came up negative!)
The prospect of lows scares me - less so now than even a few days ago as I've been reading and on these boards - but I'm diligent about keeping tabs with me at all times as well as my meter - and it's one of the main reasons I'm testing almost on the hour every hour during the day.
Wow, I just realized how much I've been typing - sorry about that!
I'll close by saying that thinking about exercise within the context of my D is really one of the strangest things I've experienced. There are obviously some tough emotions at this time when I have to be so aware of what my body's doing now when a few months ago I could walk out my door and hit the trail without too much thought. That being said, I also have this weird feeling of excitement when I think about the prospect of figuring this out - I don't know if it's just the part of me that likes a challenge or if I'm starting to get beyond the initial shock of my Dx and realizing that I can still do all the things I love with some extra effort - I'm sure it's a combination of both!