Friday, June 7, 2013

"The Dawn Phenomenon"

     Being diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes at any age is life changing.  As a infant, parents are having to do even more work in taking care of their precious little life, a young child is confused and doesn't understand why they have to be stuck several times a day with a needle, whether it is for checking blood sugar levels or giving insulin.  Being diagnosed as a teenager, well life is just over, they no longer feel normal and definitely feel as if they don't fit in.  As a young adult, life is hard enough learning how to be on your own and now you have to learn a new way of living.  Going into full adulthood, well many of us are stuck in our ways and don't want to change.

     I was diagnosed at age 39 and I loved my carbs.  It definitely has been a life changing experience for me. One of the things I struggle with most is morning highs, not morning lows.  It didn't make sense to me that I could go to bed with a pretty good blood glucose number and wake up so high.  I started researching all the possibilities and discovered it could be this thing called the "Dawn Phenomenon".  I then learned about the continuous glucose monitor and asked my endocrinologist if I could get one so I could see what my sugars were doing during the middle of the night.

  • Usually occurs between the hours of 2:00am/3:00am-5:00am/6:00am, some say as late as 8:00am
  • Natural body hormones- Growth Hormone, Cortisol, Catecholamines, are released during the early morning times to try and help restore/bring back the body to a more normal state (homeostasis).
  • Insulin resistances occurs during this time of hormone output, therefore sugar levels go up.

     This makes sense, so what do you do about it?  First of all, I wanted to know what those hormones do for the body.  Many of us know that cortisol is a stress hormone and so are catecholamines.  Too much stress on our minds puts a lot of stress on our bodies causing an influx of stress hormones within our system. When these hormones are released in the body it also triggers the liver to release glucose, hence your sugars go up.

     At first I was just doing insulin shots and then did some research on the pump (I like to do a lot of research when it comes to this disease).  I read by many that the pump helps with morning highs, so I decided to go on the pump.  It seemed to work real well in the beginning but as time goes on I am being challenged again with highs.  There are a few reasons why this still occurs and I will share those with you in my next blogs and it is not eating too many carbs before bedtime, although, that is definitely a cause for some people.