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From Jefferson City, Missouri, USA:

My son is 13 years old. He has had diabetes since age 10, and stays very active. His HbA1c's run about 6.5 and he checks his sugars 4-5 times a day. He is on 4 shots a day and usually does very well. Our biggest problem occurs during hockey season. He is a very good ice hockey goalie - and very intense about that position. We have found that his blood sugars drastically affect his playing skill, especially too high blood sugars. We can treat too low blood sugars with Gatorade and snacks, but the high blood sugars sneak up at the least expected times. You can see his reflexes slow down when his sugars get too much above 200. Any hints you can give would be appreciated. Or maybe some of your readers have experience with this problem. We have had trouble finding other hockey players with diabetes, who may have some ideas - especially goalies. The heavy equipment goalies wear seems to contribute to the uneven blood sugar levels, also. Any help would be appreciated.


First of all, I trust that your son checks his blood glucose before, during and after exercise to allow him to make any adjustments necessary for safe and effective exercise. High intensity exercise may be the reason for your son's high blood glucose levels. Blood glucose levels can go high during and immediately after activity, even if you have been in good control. The reason for this is that the liver releases more glucose during the exercise bout than the muscle cells are able to use. Short bouts of exercise such as sprints, or repeated short bouts of exercise such as hockey or basketball are examples of when high blood glucose levels can occur.

Some researchers suspect that emotional and stress factors may be a reason for some of the effects on blood glucose levels, because athletes with Type 1 diabetes have participated in prolonged matches or games and reported unexpectedly high blood glucose levels afterwards. Their blood glucose levels may rise soon after a competition but they have to be watchful of low blood glucose levels in the hours afterwards, as their bodies adjust and their muscles consume sugar to replenish depleted stores.


Original posting 26 Feb 1998
Posted to Exercise and Sports and Hyperglycemia and DKA


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