Patient Blogs | Type 2 Diabetes
How I Track My High and Low Blood Sugar Levels
photo of woman taking blood sugar test

Last week, my sugars went a little crazy. I’d start the day in range, but after breakfast and my usual cardio or strength training exercise, down they plummeted, anywhere from 59 to 73.

Even before I took my glucose reading, the symptoms were clear: a faint sweat, pale skin, weakness, and shakiness.

At first, it was a puzzle. Nothing about my daily routine had changed. My breakfasts continued to vary between a whole-wheat English muffin, a tablespoon of almond butter and blueberries or oatmeal, two teaspoons of raisins, and a half-cup of plain Greek yogurt. I drank the same two glasses of lemon-spiked water and had the same one-and-a-half cup of dark-roast coffee.

So why the lows?

Playing detective with my type 2 diabetes is nothing new. Highs or lows sometimes appear inexplicable, until I backtrack my food or exercise logs to find that I might have eaten an extra slice of pizza or had two martinis rather than one. Sometimes the mystery remains unsolved, which is one of the “delights” of type 2 diabetes.

But as I was chewing a sickly-sweet glucose tablet to raise my low, our new rescue pup Augie (short for Augusta) crossed the room, searching for a kiss. A week earlier, my professor husband had retired, and we had finally decided, after 6 years of mourning our dearly departed mini-Schnauzer, Noodle, that it was time to get serious about adopting a new dog.

And while I had spent sleepless nights scrolling online for a candidate, the day before his final class, I found her.  A 9-year-old pup with soulful eyes and humongous ears who had lost her owner in Alabama.

“That’s our dog,” I told my husband.

In 2 days, she moved in.

“I can’t figure it out,” I told Augie after she had thoroughly licked my cheeks. “Why does Mom feel so bad?”

Augie released a whimper (she is a champion whimperer) and jumped across the room to slurp water. I watched her. In the past week, our lives had radically reorganized: We had lost our living room sofa, a dog den had sprung up in our living room, and a kitchen cabinet had been given over to treats and grooming supplies.

And something else had changed. Every 3 hours or so, Jeff and I took turns hiking in our spring-blooming neighborhood, or heading to the dog park, or. …

Suddenly the low made perfect sense.

“Augie!” I yelled.

She lifted her head from the water bowl, both ears raised. Mystery solved: The dog walks had led to the lows. The extra 30 to 45 minutes tramping outside with a fleet-footed animal had spent enough energy to nudge my sugars into a downward path.

As if she read my thoughts, Augie bounded to the front door, a sign she needed to go. At the kitchen table, I took a quick reading and saw that my glucose, spurred by the sweetened disc, had jumped from 79 to 123. But this time, I’d be prepared: Before I went to walk Augie, I stuffed glucose tabs, a juice box of sweetened lemonade, and a few individually wrapped butterscotch candies into my pocket.

“OK, girl,” I said, as I fastened her collar and deposited a kiss on her downy head.  “Let’s roll.”



Photo Credit: dmphoto / E+ via Getty Images

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Ilene Raymond Rush

Ilene Raymond Rush

Diagnosed since 1984

Ilene Raymond Rush is an award-winning health and science freelance writer. Based on her own experiences with type 2 diabetes, she brings a personal take and a reporter’s eye to examine the best and newest methods of treating and controlling the disease.

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