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  1. #1
    Senior Member tpelle's Avatar
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    Did 30 Miles - Almost Hypoglycemic!

    Yesterday I had an opportunity to take my first decently long ride of the year. So far I've only been out a couple of other times, with the longest ride being only about 12 miles, and that ride was cut short due to it starting to sleet.

    I am Type II diabetic. I had been having trouble controlling my glucose levels, and along with diet, the long rides were helping. I had been taking 250mg of Glucovance 3 times per day. About a month ago, my doctor started me on a new prescription, adding a new drug called Januvia. The improvements have been dramatic!

    Anyway, yesterday I started out intending to ride about 20 miles. I was feeling so good, however, that I decided to do 30 instead, with the simple expedient of riding 15 miles according to my Astrale 8, then turning around and riding back home.

    When I got to my turnaround point I tested my glucose and it was 85. So far so good, as I carried a light snack and was intending to eat it then. For a snack I had a package of peanut butter and cheese crackers, which amounted to about two carbs. I thought, though, that with 15 more miles to go to get home, I better add something. A had a granola breakfast bar in my handlebar bag that was worth about one carb, so I ate that as well. I then started back.

    After a few miles I was noticing a headache and some general tiredness and a touch of dizziness. I stopped for a rest and tested again, and was down to an 80. With about 10 or 12 miles to go, this wasn't looking good! I dug around in my handlebar bag and found three pieces of hard candy that I carry as a kind of emergency picker-upper. I rationed those three pieces of candy for the remainder of the trip, and did finally make it home without crashing (in both sense of the word).

    Pre-Januvia I would not have had a problem with the consumables that I had with me. As a matter of fact, the peanut butter cheese crackers alone would have been sufficient.

    So, the moral of the story is: After a med change, be very, very careful and monitor your condition during exercise, and be sure to carry enough supplies to carry you through any eventuality.
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  2. #2
    Senior Member
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    This post is very good for someone like me. I have no known ailments but bikers I ride with do. Unless we get information such as this, how are we supposed to know what our fellow bikers dealing with?

  3. #3
    Senior Member doghouse's Avatar
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    A bottle of glucose tablets are invaluable at a time like that.

  4. #4
    Senior Member tpelle's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by doghouse View Post
    A bottle of glucose tablets are invaluable at a time like that.
    Yeah, but what is just about as good is a package of Lifesavers (now there's a play on words for you) or some other hard candy. I re-stocked my handlebar bag today, and made sure I put in a sandwich bag full of peppermints. Remember, though, if you ride with a diabetic, that if they become unconscious you should not give them candy as they might inhale it and get an obstructed airway. On our ambulances we carry tubes of glucose - kind of a thick syrupy sugar solution - that can be squeezed into the mouth of an unconscious and hypoglycemic diabetic patient. Of course we also carry glucose meters with which to help diagnose hypoglycemia in the first place.

    I remember a few weeks ago when I was passed by a group of riders - I just sort of mosey along at my own speed - and one of them was a pretty heavy guy that was looking kind of tapped out. Another rider was sticking with him and encouraging him, but I wouldn't have been surprised to find this guy down on the side of the road.

    I'm mostly retired from the fire department - I hold the position now of "safety officer" (which is where all old Chiefs go to die ) and still have a department two-way handheld radio. To tell the truth, I've often thought about throwing that thing in my handlebar bag. You never know what you'll run across. I ride by myself on mostly lonely 2-lane roads - just occasional houses, no stores or anything, and so I have to be fairly self sufficient.

    Another thing is that anyone with a health problem should wear some sort of I.D. specifying what the problem is, and their name, contact information, blood type, etc. If you are found down on the side of the road, the EMT/Paramedics will find it when they do their initial patient assessment. The most common things are bracelets or dog-tags. Personally I wear dog-tags on a chain around my neck, because I already wear a wristwatch on one wrist and an HRM on the other (and a dog-tag is much more macho than a bracelet ).
    Steel Club = BF-STL-00064

  5. #5
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    Thanks for your post - it's a good reminder to all to look after health issues while riding, because any kind of exercise will bring to the forefront any health issues either known or latent

    Not to hijack your thread, but to add a perspective

    I've been insulin dependent diabetic since I was 20. Now I'm 54. Exercise is good. I've done marathons, and ride bikes lots.

    Plenty, more than you've thought of, of quick glucose gels, is more important to me than even a puncture kit - and I carry both!

  6. #6
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    I gota ask how well managed was your diabetes managed prior to cycling? My doctor and I almost came to blows when he demanded that I stay off the bike until I was well managed and then he demanded that I keep rides to under 5 miles and then under 10 until I was well managed under heavy exercise. I've gotta say I thought this was stupid and while I did follow his orders there were several very heated discussions on the subject. Well I gota say it seems to have paid off for me. I just completed a 106 mile ride and did a finger stick at the end. A perfect 100. I used gel packs, peanut butter crackers ( home made ), Oj and gator aid. I don't know if this will help you in the future but the century I did prior to my doctors intervention finished with a glucose level of 67.
    Aspire to inspire before you expire.

  7. #7
    Senior Member BigBlueToe's Avatar
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    I'm also type II and I have similar issues. Bike riding can lower my blood sugar to the point that I get uncomfortable and jittery. I have to be careful. I try to always have a reserve of food in my bag. A peanut butter and jelly sandwich is good. Or I eat a meal right before I leave, and make sure there are food stops along the ride, not too far apart. I also always have glucose tablets in my bag. My blood sugar can get low really quickly. In those cases a couple of glucose tablets seem to help me feel more normal fairly quickly.

    On a normal day's ride my lowering blood sugar isn't a big problem, as long as I take the precautions described above. In fact, I think bike riding is about the best medicine there is for my disease, but it must be managed like any other treatment.

    When I go on a multiday tour, it becomes more problematic. The amount of exertion when touring plays havoc with my blood sugar management. I typically have a few incidents of low blood sugar in the first week. The lowest I remember it getting was 60 - not too dangerous but getting down there. I usually taper off of my medicines when touring, and soon get to where I don't need to take anything. The trick is knowing how fast to taper off. I test a lot on tour - especially during that first week. The worst is at the top of a long climb. I've been pumping and straining for miles, not really aware of any change in my body chemistry other than tiredness, but when I get to the top and stop working so hard, that's when it hits me. I stop and test. Hopefully I just need to eat and rest for awhile, but if my sugar level is low I'll add a sucrose tablet or two.

    On centuries I've been okay with just eating often - I never pass up a rest stop, even if all I eat is half a bagel and a quarter of a banana. However, even then I carry some food and sucrose tablets, just in case.

  8. #8
    Senior Member doghouse's Avatar
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    I am diabetic and a chemistry major, and unfortunately I did not stay in a Holiday Inn last night. So I am probably not telling you anything you don't already know, but Glucose tablets (or gels) are much faster on recovery than candy, juices or sodas. The fructose and sucrose in the latter items must be converted to glucose to be used by the body.

    All of the above should be followed soon with more complex carbohydrates (ie Granola bars, peanut butter crackers) to sustain the corrected blood glucose level.

    In addition to glucometers many diabetics, particularly Type 1's, often carry an injectable kit in case of a bad low that cannot be reversed with any of the above oral stimulants. Not unlike the Epi-pen kit used for allergic reactions.

    Nice thing about having an insulin pump, I check my glucose before I ride and adjust the insulin delivery rate on the pump for based on the expected intensity and duration of the ride.

    As for your doctor giving you grief, don't forget that many in our litigious society would want to hold him/her responsible if something bad happened to a patient. I went through the same thing with my doctors. Now that they trust me, they often ask me questions. It gets better.

    Hope this helps in some small way.

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