The other day I was trying to explain about controlling diabetes to a person with a functioning pancreas. I thought I was doing okay until they said “so you work out what you’re eating and put insulin in to deal with it”. In brief, yes, I suppose that’s true. It just makes it sound so simple.
The other week I had another conversation with someone who’s recently been diagnosed type 1. They were truly baffled by the fact that although they’d eaten the same thing and taken the same insulin from one day to the next, their results varied enormously.
It set me thinking, from the outside diabetes management looks like it should be an exact science but in reality it feels like more of an art.
When I was diagnosed my dad, who has a science background, knew it was important to have a good understanding of the numbers – the inputs (carbs) and the outputs (exercise). My mum is more arts so she was conscious of the impact of other things that were harder to measure like stress, hormones, excitement.
That made for a powerful combination and led to me believing that successful diabetes management is about understanding the data whilst being aware of all the other issues going on with my body and also putting a bit of trust in gut feeling.
I think the formula below covers most of it
I = insulin
C = carbs
E = exercise
H = hormones
St = stress
L = luck
S = stuff (all the other variables you don’t realise are variables until they hit you)
Having the knowledge of the basics and understanding the data is essential. But accepting that this isn’t an exact science really reduces the frustration!