Getting my Blood Down

So the red wine is gone. I even cancelled my wine club membership. There’s no going back!

But, as I was saying the other day, two glasses here, another two glasses there, elevates my blood overtime. Well, that was true with a vengeance yesterday morning when I woke up with a blood reading of…nearly 12 mmol/L (216 mg/dl). I suspect that smashing three large handfuls of pecans after dinner did not help either.

This post was going to be a triumphant story of getting my blood down to at least high-normal levels relatively quickly for someone with a wonky pancreas, and I suppose it still is. Nonetheless, it was a roller coaster yesterday when it came to my glucose levels.

After breakfast consisting of a leftover chicken breast, artichoke and creamy mushroom sauce, I decided I wouldn’t eat again till dinner and then only have a light salad. I would also do some intense exercise in the afternoon.

At around 4:00 pm, I checked my blood before my workout and it had come down to a still high 9 mmol/L. I figured a six kilometre run followed by some tractor tyre flips would get my blood down to the high normal range 6-7.6 mmol/L. Result? My blood spiked to 12.3 mmol/L.

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What happened? I had the classic negative effect of too much intense exercise. If you have ever experienced this as a diabetic, you know how frustrating it is. You’ve put in hard work, you’re feeling pretty satisfied, and you’re expecting a significant drop in blood glucose levels. Instead, you get a spike.

What happened? My body probably released some adrenaline and cortisol which made my liver decide to shoot me up with a load of glucose for my workout. Of course, for a normal person with a fully functioning pancreas, this wouldn’t be a problem. The pancreas would simply release some insulin to maintain normal blood sugar levels. My pancreas, however, simply can’t keep up.

What was particularly frustrating about this spike was that I’ve done the same workout before and had had significant drops in my blood glucose. Why the spike this time? I don’t know for certain, but I have a theory!

As some readers will know, drinking alcohol can lower a diabetic’s blood sugar and even limit the dawn phenomenon. Why? Because the alcohol is disrupting the liver’s ability to release glucose into the body. I have a hunch that when I stopped drinking alcohol, my liver became more sensitive to stress indicators like adrenaline, and decided to release more glucose into my body. It’s only a hunch, but I think some experiments I’m planning to do may shed more light on this.

In any event, my blood did drop quickly from this spike, and when I went to bed my blood level was at a tolerable 7.1 mmol/L. It crept up a tiny bit overnight, and I woke up this morning at 7.5. So I consider that to be a pretty good result considering my very high 12 reading the previous morning.

So what did I takeaway from yesterday:

Stop drinking wine

Skipping meals (AKA intermittent fasting) helps

High glucose levels can be brought down eventually with really intense exercise, but blood spikes are a danger. Is moderate exercise, over a longer period, the better option?

I’ll have more to say fasting today.