I step outside to take a quick walk around the block at lunchtime and see my blood sugar is hovering at 98 mg/dL — just high enough so it might not drop too low, but just low enough so danger lurks. My Dexcom CGM trend arrow is level, and it’s showing a flat line for most of the morning post-breakfast.
“It’s just a quick walk with the dog — nothing too heavy, so I should be OK,” I tell myself.
Roughly around the halfway point before we even make the turn back toward my house, it’s clear that I was wrong. The hypo symptoms begin to set, thanks to a 25-point drop in glucose level that magically hit over the past 15 minutes. So I dig into the orange-flavored glucose tabs in my pocket.
In my world, this unpredictable Exercise Effect happens more than I’d care to admit. No matter whether it’s a quick dog walk around the block, more intense bike riding or outdoor yard work, I always have my blood sugars on the brain, and I’m often wrong in guesstimating how they will react. In a perfect world, I’d love to have some piece of technology that could predict what my blood sugars would do based on the length and intensity of exercise I am about to undertake, and also tell me if there’s a need for insulin or food based on that prediction.
With all that in mind, I set out to find some kind of “predictor” tool that might help me better manage exercise. What I found were three options that can best be described as “The Good, The Bad, and the Unavailable But On the Horizon.”
Leading the way on this seems to be the William Sansum Diabetes Center in Santa Barbara, CA, which recently rolled out the updated version of an online resource called ExCarbs. We heard about this earlier in the year, when we connected with the new head of innovation and research Dr. David Kerr, who joined Sansum from the UK (where he originally developed ExCarbs).