From Palm Harbor, Florida, USA:
My eight year old son is a very active soccer player. About three weeks ago, he was diagnosed with type 1. Initially, he was able to play his soccer games with no trouble. However, now we are having a very difficult time keeping his blood sugar up long enough for him to play even 30 minutes. We have tried extra carbohydrates, which bring his blood sugar up, but he immediately burns it right down. The doctor told us he is in his honeymoon period and to cut his dose of long-acting insulin down from 15 units to 12 units. However, his blood sugar, as an example, went from 300 to 40 mg/dl [16.7 to 2.2 mmol/L] in less that an hour while he was outside playing. We have no idea what to do expect, perhaps let him drink a lot of Gatorade and eat a power bar before and during the game. What do you recommend?
When low blood sugars are problem during exercise, it is usually due to too much insulin, not enough food, or a combination of the two. It is important to speak with your health care team when trying something new. I would recommend trying to add some carbohydrates and some protein or even a good source of fat (i.e., peanut butter) which may help level things out.
It seems like the long acting insulin may be harder to tweak around exercise. Using an insulin pump will allow you to be concerned with rapid acting insulin (NovoLog, Humalog, or Apidra) only since the pump will only use these types of insulins. The more variability the insulin, the harder it is to control blood sugars around exercise.
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