Joeys 1st quarter of high school ended so it’s report card time. Report cards are great, and necessary to show how a kid is doing academically. In the type 1 world we are also graded by how well we are doing in managing our blood sugar numbers! Our report card is called the A1C!
For Joey, and others with type 1, the word “number” has a completely different meaning. Since he was 8 years old he’s heard the phrase “what’s your number,” at least 4 times a day! If not in person, it’s over text.
When he was in elementary and middle school I would get a call at lunchtime. “My number is xyz.” Now that he’s in high school, not so much! But I still text him – sometimes. I’m backing off because he is in high school but that doesn’t mean I’m not wondering; “what’s his number?”
You see when we go for the 3-6 month checkup at CHW’s diabetes clinic, we get graded. The dreaded A1C – that is our diabetes report card. It tells us a number, like a report card, it tells us how we are managing type 1 diabetes, or if we need improvement. We strive for an “A,” but we are realistic. A lot of people get wrapped up in that A1C number when it comes to diabetes management! It’s a thorn in our side!
When I say we are realistic, some might imply that I’m making excuses for Joey if “we” have a poor grade on the A1C, but honestly I think that are so many factors that play a part! For instance Joey has always had higher blood sugar levels early in the morning, it’s attributed to hormones that naturally cause the blood sugar levels to go higher. The official term is called Dawn Phenomenon, which is the rise in blood sugar that occurs in the early morning hours, usually between 3 and 6 a.m. The hormone tells the liver to release glucose, this is the body’s way of making sure it has enough energy to get up and start your day. But for people with type 1, the body isn’t producing the insulin needed to stabilize the released glucose. So his blood sugar remains high.
That’s one reason his A1C might not produce an “A.” Are there things we/he can do to keep his grade up, even with Dawn Phenomenon? Yes, this is why we do a 2:00AM blood sugar check, which helps us keep that grade up. To get an A Joey would have to do everything right, and let’s face it, he’s a teenager. He would have to check his blood sugar every few hours around the clock, and make insulin adjustments along the way.
A lot of people think that his Omnipod insulin pump does this for him! It doesn’t.
Tune in tomorrow to find out how his insulin pump helps him regulate his blood sugar and other ways we are trying to get his “grade” up!