Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Catching a Wave

The Great Wave off Kanagawa
1760-1849 Japanese

The other day, I complained on Facebook. (I know: "Mom! Someone complained on Facebook!")

It received many sympathetic comments and suggestions, including the possibility that coffee might affect my blood sugar. As a matter of fact, that possibility had occurred to me earlier. I found conflicting information on the internet, but did learn that many diabetics are especially susceptible to blood-sugar spikes in the morning.

This is partly because of what is known as the Dawn Phenomenon, wherein Tony Orlando becomes a sex symbol. Kidding. [If you don't get the reference, google it.]

The Dawn Phenomenon is "the term used to describe an abnormal early-morning increase in blood sugar (glucose) — usually between 2 a.m. and 8 a.m. — in people with diabetes," according to Dr. Collazo-Clavell at the Mayo Clinic.

One explanation I've read is that this is the normal body's protection against potentially fatal hypoglycemia. Because sleep requires a prolonged period without food, the body stimulates the liver to release extra sugar into the blood. In normal people, this is fine. In diabetics, the sugar just hangs around in the blood because either there is no insulin (Type I diabetes), or the insulin that is there just isn't working very well at getting the sugar into the muscles or brain cells.

I already knew about this when I whined. I had forgotten that my blood sugar reading reflects not only the meal I just ate, but the build-up over the previous 12 to 24 hours or so. 

It's like the tide coming in: the waves themselves may not be any higher than they were at low-tide, but they reach farther because the tide itself is pushing them forward and upward.

So my bedtime binge on a cookie, cherries and sangria was ill advised. [I know! Who would have guessed!] I thought the surge would be gone by morning or would at least taper off if I were very careful at breakfast. In a healthy metabolism, that might be the case; for a diabetic - or at least, for this diabetic -- it is not.

I'm still learning how to live with diabetes. What is clear is that I can't "cheat" like someone with a normal metabolism can. Binge eating is bad, especially in the evening. 

On the bright side, by dinner time, my ultra-low-carb breakfast and low-carb lunch had my blood sugar back down to 5.3 mmol/L. That's NORMAL, folks! And today I've been within normal range ALL DAY! (Incidentally, that's with my usual coffee and sweetener.)

And I'll have to amend my "all I had was coffee and my blood sugar soared" whine to "all I had was coffee, two glasses of sangria, a big bowl of cherries and a cookie."

All this talk is making me hungry. But I think I'll skip the cherries and maybe have a nibble of cheese.

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