Significance: Sugar Surfing’s Secret Weapon

photo via public domain

In the world of dynamic diabetes management, blood sugar patterns are everywhere. Once you learn how to identify them; shelves, delta waves, inflections, lags and drops, are quickly seen after a quick glance at the blood sugar trend line. These shapes constitute a geometric language describing a person’s glycemic fingerprint in the moment. By the time my workshop ends, attendees understand this.

Any language system requires context to be meaningful. Sugar Surfing™ is no different. Significance is the context upon which Surfers understand the meaning of their glycemic trendline "in the moment". They will also work to create these shapes through their actions and non-actions (thoughtful omissions). This is also discussed online, in the book and at workshops.

To conceptualize how Surfers can evaluate the significance of a blood sugar trendline, consider the acronym C.A.R.E.:

Current actions (what are you doing now)

Anticipated (actions/omissions in the immediate future)

Recent (actions/omissions in the recent past)

Experience (your own under similar situations)

Taking C.A.R.E. is how a trained and practicing Surfer quickly assesses the significance of a trendline. Let me give a few examples.

  • A fall in blood sugar of 30 mg/dl (or 2mmol/L) has two difference interpretations:

1. the drop is starting at 200 mg/dl (11.1 mmol/L)

2. compared to a starting point of 100 mg/dl (5.6 mmol/L).

In the second case a low blood sugar may be impending whereas in the former a high blood sugar is being effectively reduced.

  • A rise in blood sugar of 30 mg/dl is considered differently

1. if it starts at 70 mg/dl (3.9 mmol/L)

2. compared to 180 mg/dl (10 mmol/L).

In the first case, this might represent treatment of a low blood sugar level and in the latter, it might mean too little insulin was taken for a meal.

A steady trendline (aka - 'shelf') traveling across a range between 70-100 mg/dl (3.9-5.6 mmol/L) might be less desirable to the mother of a newly diagnosed 3-year-old type 1 child compared to a 30-year-old type 1 expectant mother.