Every journey needs a compass, maps, or a great GPS, right? Otherwise, you’d get lost. What if you had to depend on the sign above (which I just love!) Your compass as you work to control diabetes are your glucose readings, and they can drive you crazy sometimes. The following is an email exchange showing just how crazy they can make you. (I know I will use this picture if the future – it’s just so perfect!)
The Original Comment
Thank you – this happens to me too and I don’t understand it! My fasting numbers are horrible no matter what I do – EXCEPT on the weekend when I get to sleep in later. I just thought it was because my body was going longer without food… but I think the Dawn Phenomenon is happening to me. Sam
I know how crazy I felt when I saw numbers around 100 at night before going to bed and then saw 130 in the morning when I took my first reading. It was the most discouraging time for me as I was working to control the disease. I lost hours of sleep over it! How could my numbers possibly go up when I didn’t eat anything?
I even called the manufacturer of the meter to tell them it was broken. I mean, I was doing everything right; it must be the meter. They sent me a new meter. Didn’t help.
I had done everything that I was told that I should be doing. I changed my diet to a low carb diet. (I will let you in on a secret, I don’t eat any ‘special’ foods – I eat whatever is in the house minus cookies, chips, etc. I do eat a lot of fresh vegetables and fruit.)
I was exercising – walking 30 minutes a day. It’s not distance walked; it’s the time spent walking. You will find that you will just naturally get a faster pace as time goes by, and as a result will burn more calories and make your blood cells more ‘open’ to receiving sugar (making your natural insulin work better).
And, I was taking my meds and tracking my glucose readings. I was learning what I could eat, and more importantly what I couldn’t eat. When I could snack, and when it would ‘do me in.’
I assume that you are doing all of the above, but the number you get in the morning is still higher than the one you went to bed with. Also, I am assuming you are not getting up in the middle of the night to have a 3:00 am meal.
If my assumptions are right, then you are probably seeing the Dawn Effect. Just as I mentioned on the blog, it’s the body’s way of getting ready to get up and start the day. And, when you think about it, it’s pretty great – unless you are a diabetic who is trying to control sugar and paying attention to readings.
You need to find out when the Dawn Effect hits you. The only way I know to do that is to get up progressively earlier until you see a lower number. Since it seems to happen for most people between 4:00 and 8:00 am – try taking a reading at 6:00, if you aren’t already doing that. It will give you a starting point to determine when it happens for you. I am not proposing you get up and take a reading at 4:00 am. I would because I am really curious – I’d know for sure when it happened and could rest easy. But, then again, I am a bit obsessive about diabetes.
Sam, I know the doubt and sheer craziness that diabetes can cause as you work to control it. You have to understand that there might be plateaus you hit and have to make a few adjustments to bring down your numbers. But, the reward is bigger than I can communicate. You will feel better than you have in years. You will have more energy. You will feel younger. You will be more confident because if you can control diabetes, you can do just about anything.
I used to think in terms of surviving diabetes – I wanted to just survive and not have any of the side effects of the disease. Now, I believe we should be thriving. I feel better than I have in 30 years. That’s right, 30 years! I want the same for you and believe with every fiber in my soul that you can achieve the same thing – that you are going to be thriving.
The best years are ahead of you. Beat down diabetes, control it, and you will emerge stronger, smarter and healthier. You can do it. You really can. Believe it, because I do.
I hope I have helped and if there is anything I can ever do, or tell you about my experiences, you have only to ask.
You have the courage and dedication it takes to beat the disease. I know it.
Wishing the best for you and your family,
It’s good to know that this isn’t something I am doing wrong. As you said, I have changed my diet and am also doing the lower carb method like you. I eat a lot of veggies and regulate my fruits.
I also exercise – walking at least 20 minutes a day if not more (sometimes it’s hard if the weather isn’t cooperating)
But no matter what I do … snack vs. no snack, exercise vs. no exercise, my fasting is always right around 140. I usually test around 7:30 after having woken up around 7. So it’s possible that the Dawn Effect is taking place then. I do know that when I test on the weekend, and sleep a little bit later, it’s usually in the 130’s. Still not great.
I’ll experiment and wake up early to test. I don’t know about 4 a.m. though 😉
Anyway, I really appreciate you taking the time to write to me. I’m glad to have others going through similar things to me since this is all so new. Believe me it means a lot.
What is happening is normal. In fact, it’s so normal everyone, diabetic and non-diabetic, experience it. Can’t get any more normal than that!
Also, I think your numbers are pretty good. I don’t know how long you have been actively working to control your diabetes, but you are so very, very close. I was just about where you are when suddenly everything kicked into place.
You are right on the verge of a break-through. So close. Please keep me informed – please. I want to be able to celebrate your wonderful results.
If you could squeak out just another 8 minutes of walking…to go for 28 minutes, you might see remarkable results. I have found it’s not how far you go, but how long you go that seems to matter the most. For me, my 30 minute walk is really about 28 minutes and 30 seconds. (Yes, I time it and walk to music to help me keep a certain pace.)
Success is just around the corner! I can almost taste it for you.
Again, thank you so very much. You are going to beat down diabetes and become an example to those around you.
Keep up the good work and fight the good fight.
I was only diagnosed in May, so this has been a short journey that has felt a lot longer. When I was first diagnosed, it was not abnormal for me to have a fasting over 200. Then it dropped to about 180 fasting once I started Metformin, and now is still hovering around the 140’s (this morning it was 152).
I’ve also lost about 25 pounds, maybe even more. This week I’ve lost 2 more pounds, and I couldn’t even tell you why. I think the weight loss is also helping with the sugar levels.
I will definitely keep you posted! I am posting in my blog a few days a week about my successes but I will also try and keep in touch over e-mail. I really do appreciate the support and encouragement.
You started so much ‘better’ than I did. My first recorded glucose reading (two weeks after diagnoses and start of meds and diet change) was 297, as I recall. I think my doctor was afraid to tell me just how high I really was!
You are going to beat diabetes and do great things. I hope I will be able to see just what you are going to accomplish.
If you take the time to comment, I will always try and get back to you. Thank you and continue to fight the good fight.
As always, thank you for reading.