What's better than Friday? Free Stuff Friday, of course!
What's even better than a Free Stuff Friday? Free Stuff Friday with awesome T1D blogger Karen Graffeo of Bitter~Sweet (Bitter~Sweet ... because life with diabetes isn't all bad)!
And even better than THAT? Free Stuff Friday with awesome T1D blogger Karen Graffeo on the first day of Diabetes Awareness Month!
Today's Free Stuff Friday entry instructions are at the end of this post.
The challenge of the changing seasons
A guest post from Karen Graffeo
I’ve lived in New England all my life and one of the things I love is that we always have four distinct seasons. Right now autumn is everywhere. Suddenly the air outside is as crisp as the apples that load the tree branches. All around leaves in bright shades of crimson and fiery orange are wafting to the ground. Pumpkins and bundles of corn stalks are on display and fresh cider is readily available.
Although I love experiencing a new season every few months, the downside is that the change of seasons can be challenging to diabetes management. Over the years I’ve figured out the major things to look out for and the adjustments that seem to work best for me. Here are a few challenges that top my list:
- Different activity levels – Spring and summer definitely find me outside getting plenty of exercise, while during the fall and winter you’re more likely to find me lounging under a blanket. More exercise makes my insulin needs go down and usually has me fighting lots of low blood sugars. Less exercise brings just the opposite, lots of high blood sugars and a need for more insulin. I’ve tried to adjust my insulin and snacks to head off these highs and lows as best I can.
- Changes in temperatures - For me, warm weather is trickier to navigate than cool seasons. A hot day can make me more sensitive to insulin, so I try to reduce the amount of insulin I take. On the other hand, extreme heat can spoil the insulin in my insulin pump. I found this out when, after a day at Disneyworld in Florida’s hot July sun, I woke up halfway through the night with a dangerously high blood because the insulin in my pump no longer held its potency. The next day I bought a cooling pack to protect my pump, and its insulin, on hot summer days
- Holidays, or more specifically, holiday food - Holidays are a part of every season, and many holidays include traditional feasts or revolve around chocolate. Indulging in more food than usual, many with higher fat content and more carbohydrates than I usually eat, can definitely throw off my blood sugars. I try my best to make it work by using some advanced features of my insulin pump that can deliver more insulin over longer periods of time than my usual meal doses. I also try hard to remember that moderation is our friend, whether we have diabetes or not.
- Daylight Savings time – Tomorrow we push the clocks back an hour and it usually takes my body, and diabetes, several days to adjust. This is because throughout the day my insulin needs change and my insulin pump has basal insulin ratios that are fine tuned to deliver the proper amount at the proper time. Changing the clock an hour one way or the other can throw everything off until my body settles into the new time and routine, so I try to adjust as best I can and remember that everything will calm down in a day or so.
There are so many factors that affect diabetes management, both during the different seasons and just during normal everyday life. For me, the key is to do my best to be proactive and remember not to let anything ruin my celebrations.
And now.... to enter this week's Free Stuff Friday, here's the deal:
Leave us a comment with your tips for (or challenges in) managing your health care -- be it diabetes, allergies, asthma, or any other condition -- as the seasons change. How do you adjust your health care routine with the weather (and the clocks!) changing?
The Rules & All That Jazz: As usual, the rules are boring. Basically, one winner per household every 6 months. Prize is distributed via email gift certificate, which has no cash value and must be claimed within 72 hours. The winner will be announced here (below, in this post) on Monday, November 4th, 2013. We'll post to Facebook when the winner has been announced, so follow us on Facebook to stay in the loop! The full rules and regs, for those of you looking for help for your insomnia, are here.
who entered with this comment:
"Come Thanksgiving weekend, we will have successfully lived with T1D for an entire year. Our 7-year old was diagnosed the same day we were supposed to pick up our puppy! I have no tips or tricks to offer, as he's still honeymooning with crazy ups and downs. But here (also in New England) the weather's been so crazy (yesterday 30s and rain, today in the 70s) that we test more often as a means of calibrating the way his body feels against the actual meter. I think the weather's affecting his readings."
Congratulations, Suzanne! Please email email@example.com to claim your gift certificate by close of business Wednesday. Enjoy!