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September 3, 2003

Exercise and Sports, Insulin Pumps

Question from New York, New York, USA:

I have been using an insulin pump user for about five years, and I am in very good health, but suddenly, I am having elevated blood sugars after weight lifting class (three times per week). I believe that this is from fat and calories being converted to glucose and being released. Is this the reason? I am going to try to increase my basal rate during and a few hours after my training.


There are individuals who have paradoxical increases in their blood sugars with strenuous exercise. I have several insulin pump patients in my practice who experience the same situation. Most of them increase their basal rate one-half hour prior to exercise and continue it two to three hours post exercise.

I would advise that you consult with your diabetes team prior to making any changes in your rates. Your other alternative is to correct for the elevation as you normally would, however, a temporary increase is more acceptable. Some pumps also have the ability to use alternative programs, if your pump is one of these then an alternative program for exercise would be favorable.