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March 23, 2004

Blood Tests and Insulin Injections, Exercise and Sports

Question from Youngstown, Ohio, USA:

My 12 year old daughter was diagnosed in March 2003 with type 1 diabetes and now takes five and a half units of Lantus at bedtime, along with Humalog with each meal, at a rate of 1 unit per 15 grams of carbohydrates. She is physically disabled, but recently she began using an exercise bike to increase her physical activity. If she were to eat a small snack consisting of 20-30 grams of carbohydrates, is it possible to exercise enough to avoid hyperglycemia, or would she still need to inject a small amount of insulin for her body to use the food properly?

Answer:

Food does need to be covered by insulin but the Lantus basal insulin may do the job very adequately. The nature of the snack will be important, too, with the carbohydrate type and content being the critical factor. However, the definitive way to answer the question is to check her blood glucose before and one hour after and discuss the results with your diabetes team.

KJR