The power of blood sugar penning

I’m a type 1 who rarely logs her blood sugar numbers. I test about six times a day ordinarily, more when I eat a meal out and don’t really know how many carbs are in it, or take an unexpected walk and don’t know where its left me, or do a presentation and know the pre-talk jitters are messing with me or my sugar’s rising fast in the morning and I haven’t even had breakfast yet… and on and on and on. You get the idea, I test frequently. 

But I never log my blood sugars. Sure, I hear you say, why bother they’re in my meter. But I never look at them, never download them. And if you’re saying to yourself, they’re in my meter, you may not pay them much mind either. 

A few months ago I had a short spate of  logging my numbers because I started with a new endo and was asked to write them down. For about six weeks I wrote them in a log book. Once a week I sent them to my endo. So I began to look at them and noticed some overarching trends, ’tis true, yet at the same time a certain randomness – and without the additional information like what was I eating and did I walk that morning and had I already taken a unit of Apidra to blunt my early morning rise – they seemed just like floating numbers not attached to any relevant information. So, sure enough when I stopped sending them to my endo I stopped writing them down.

Now I’ll contradict all I just said. If you’re new to blood sugar testing or going through a patch where your numbers seemed to have changed for no apparent reason or you just can’t figure them out, I do think logging can help you spot patterns. It also makes you more aware that you indeed have blood sugar numbers and that they fluctuate throughout the day. 

And, writing them down with paper and pen seems to win in winning your attention over just letting your meter collect them. In this little piece in Diabetes Forecast magazine, “The Value of the Logbook” Laurie Terrio, a cde and type 1, lost her own argument of meter over logbook when she began to write them down and really see the impact of her numbers. 

If you need a little extra help with your blood sugar, try the pen. You might just find something worthwhile peering back at you from a real page.

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