On Christmas eve, we held a small get together at our place. We had enough food for about 25 people when there were only 6 of us! Even though I hadn’t indulged too much, my BG soared to about 250 mg/dL around dinner time. There was a delicious red velvet cake to be eaten afterward and I was upset that I was going to have to pass at the moment because of my high BG. One of my friends asked how long I would have to wait for it to come down. I told him it depends but it could possibly take a while. This got me thinking of how intricate managing glucose levels really is. To an outsider, it may seem like if a person with diabetes’ blood sugar is high they would take insulin and it would come back to normal promptly. Not always the case.
Then this morning, Scott pointed out a great post from Alexis over at I Run on Insulin. She talks about the complexities of managing BG more from the liver’s perspective but it resonated with me because of what I was thinking about a few days ago. Insulin is not the only thing missing from a person with diabetes’ body. Back when I was diagnosed, this wasn’t really part of the education given. We were taught to give daily insulin injections and sent on our merry way. But there are other hormones and functions affected by that attack of one’s beta cells. Science is not my thing. I work in Finance for Pete’s sake! I’m not going to pretend to completely comprehend the biology of it all but I do understand that insulin is not the only thing that regulates glucose from the blood to the body’s cells. There is glucagon which is another hormone secreted by the pancreas that causes the liver to convert stored glycogen into glucose when the blood glucose level is too low. Glucagon and insulin work together to keep glucose levels stable. And there is amylin, a partner of insulin. It is secreted in response to meals in order to maintain glycemic control.
In a person with diabetes, all three of these hormones do not work properly, if at all. Add that to the variables of taking human made insulin, through human made devices based on non perfect, human made decisions, it’s a wonder how our blood glucose levels are ever near normal! It’s
never not always as easy as insulin.