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January 8, 2000

Exercise and Sports

Question from Ohio, USA:

I am a 29 year old type 1 diabetic, diagnosed at the age of 13. I have recently joined a gym and am having a horrible time with blood sugars. I drop at least 200 points (blood sugar, food equivalent) at every workout. I am interested in losing weight and do not want to eat a load of carbs before I go to the gym. Do you have any suggestions?

Answer:

Congratulations on adding exercise to your life! Now it’s a matter of finding the right match of insulin and food to do it safely.

I would suggest you discuss with your physician and/or diabetes educator how to decrease your insulins, both short acting and long acting, to match what your blood sugars are telling you. This would take the place of adding more food and calories since you are wishing to lose some weight. You will also want to watch your blood sugars closely several hours after the exercise to avoid low blood sugars as your muscles refill their sugar storage, taking the sugar from your blood. It will all be much easier to determine if you are currently using Humalog insulin for your food and a long acting insulin for background needs. If not, discuss this possibility as well.

KS