Thursday, May 23, 2013

To Basal Test or Not To Basal Test?

How many of you out there do basal testing? 

Raise your hand. 

(I'm staring hard into the little camera on my laptop but I can't see any hands up in cyberspace.) 

I've never really done it before. Not in a serious, official, follow the book kinda sense. 

Oh, sorry folks, I should probably explain. Basal testing, for those of you whose aren't pumping, means that you test your blood sugar frequently over a certain period of the day (say from 6am until 6pm) to see if it remains stable. If it is stable, that means that your basal rates are correct. If it goes up or down by any great degree, your basal rates are off. The kicker is that you can't have any carbs during that time period so your meals would look a lot like the Atkins diet. 

My kind of basal testing goes sorta like this: 

5pm - early dinner. 
9:30pm - blood sugar check. It's at a good number (say 6.5). 
Go to bed. 
Get up to pee around 3am. Check blood sugar. It's 6.2. Cross my fingers that basal rates are good and don't eat anything. 
Wake up at 5:15am. Check blood sugar. It's 6.5. Yay, nighttime basal rates are good. 

Yesterday I ate lunch at noon. At 3pm I checked my blood sugar. It was 5.9. At 4pm I checked again. It was still 5.9. I checked again at 5:30pm. It was 4.3. 

My basal rate might be a tiny bit high but then it was dinner time and I had a greek pasta salad and bread so that pretty much ended the testing. 

So I go back to my original question. How many of you deliberately test your basal rates? 

I understand the logic behind doing it. I understand the value of doing it. (I understand that having a continuous glucose monitor (CGM) would help. I'm anxiously awaiting news that Dexcom has arrived in Canada.) I like to exercise every morning and then compensate for the different exercises by adjusting my breakfast bolus. I like my 40 carb super yummy breakfast shake. Oh, and I don't fancy waking up every hour in the night to test. 

But I will if it's worth the bother. 

Is it worth the bother? 

And, if yes, tell me how you do it, what you eat and any other things that might be helpful to know (like how much variation in blood sugar levels is acceptable and how much warrants a basal change? or how many days in a row would you test before making a change?). 

Oh, and thanks! 

1 comment:

  1. I did some seriously hardcore basal rate testing when I first started pumping, back when Jesus walked the earth. Haven't done it again since.

    That being said, I feel that it would greatly benefit my management. If you basal rates are off, nothing else works right. Or if it DOES work right, it's not doing so for the reasons you think.

    I have to admit that the work and suffering involved with basal rate testing has turned me into a perpetual procrastinator. I know I need to do it, but I don't want to.