Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Blood Donation

Last week I donated blood. I had never done it before, because I had always assumed (hoped?) that Type 1 diabetics would be excluded. I decided to give it a go because I had read that there can be some potential health benefits. It's summer and feeling tired for a day or so isn't the end of the world. Plus, saving a life is pretty cool.

The experience went smoothly. I was questioned a bit about my a-fib, but the beta blocker that I'm taking wasn't on the list of prohibited drugs. I wasn't excluded.

I thought the process was pretty easy. It's strange to see a bulging bag of your own blood, but I felt fine during the procedure, and afterwards.

I did make a T1 mistake. I arrived with a BG of 150 mg/dl, to make sure that I was in a comfortable spot as they took a pint. During my donation I saw my blood glucose go down by about 40 points, according to my sensor. It made me a bit jumpy, because I thought it was from the donation, but it was probably just from nerves. People usually have some snacks after giving blood to make sure they feel well. I had a glucose tablet right before donation. And afterwards, I accepted a gluten free snack bar that had 21 grams of carb in it. Even with a bolus, my BG shot up higher than expected, and incredibly quickly. After that I was chasing it, trying to keep it stable.

Blood donation has been known to lower insulin resistance in Type 2 diabetics.

I did not experience any clear benefit in my insulin sensitivity. If anything, I have found that I'm more sensitive to the impact of fast acting carbs. In the week that followed donation I went to camp with my kids and consumed foods that were different than my usual fare. I found that my blood sugars were much more volatile than I expected. There were several factors at play, but it seems like things have been a bit more jumpy. Maybe some of that could be insulin sensitivity coupled with faster absorption of glucose. I'm not a fan of the change. It's been much more difficult to keep things stable. Even as I am home, eating normally, I am still experiencing some strange and unpredictable trends. I will probably need to watch my sensor data and see if there's a basis for adjusting basal or carb/correction factors.

Anyone else know any tricks for post-donation management?


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