Blood sugar roller coaster

Checking blood sugar adds stress to a day for me and lots of people with diabetes (both type I and type II). Will I be high or low? Will I be good or bad? Will I pass or fail this “test”? I hold my breath and hide the face of the meter from anyone around me for the 5 seconds it takes to calculate my blood sugar, waiting to see what the number will tell me.

Now, as a dietitian, I’m always asking people not to get worked-up about one number. A finger stick is an immediate snap shot and doesn’t represent overall control; but, clearly, not getting worked up is easier said than done.

A low is (usually) fixed quickly; but, it can take over an hour for a high blood sugar to start coming down. And, with the fear of complications, I have sent myself into a panic over high readings on more than one occasion.

As a Registered Dietitian, I know that high blood sugar can happen for lots of reasons, some of which are out of my control. But, as a person with diabetes and slightly obsessive tendencies, it is hard to not feel defeated, frustrated, and angered by a high.

A high feels like a “fail”. Like I ate too much, or didn’t move enough, or counted carbs wrong. Like I did everything wrong. So, I end up angry and stressed, which makes blood sugar even harder to control.

I end up on a not-so-fun blood sugar “roller coaster”. I get upset about the high and over-correct with insulin, which creates a low, which is over-treated due to fear, which shoots the sugar back up again!

My A1c (average blood sugar) may look spotless to my doctors at 5.7%; but, the ups and downs that average out to the “normal” number put unnecessary stress on the body.

Controlling blood sugar is not as simple as we want it to be. With all the factors affecting blood sugar and how quickly the numbers change, it is frustrating to realize that the numbers can’t always be “good”. Taking control of what we can, understanding how to cope with what we can’t control, communicating with the medical team and following recommendations, managing stress, and problem solving to treat highs and lows can help us feel more “in control” when we feel like we are on a constant “roller coaster”!

How have you learned to cope with what you can’t control in managing your health?


2 thoughts on “Blood sugar roller coaster

  1. Kelly…in my mind I see all of your readers with diabetes and all of their family members nodding their head in agreement while reading your post, all the while saying “yes, that’s it exactly!” You have an innate ability to articulate the struggles and obstacles diabetes presents. Thank you for making it so clear and understandable for all of us. You have a gift! And I love your menu suggestions…but I am not a fan of feta cheese…would goat cheese be a comparable substitute?

    • Thank you so much, Jackie! 🙂 And yes, goat cheese is a comparable sub for feta, but try to use a soft goat cheese (ex: camembert, brie, etc) because they are lower in fat and salt than hard goat cheeses.

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