Characterization of Exercise and Alcohol Self-Management Behaviors of Type 1 Diabetes Patients on Insulin Pump Therapy

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There is a lack of systematic ways to analyze how diabetes patients use their insulin pumps to self-manage blood glucose to compensate for alcohol ingestion and exercise. The objective was to analyze “real-life” insulin dosing decisions occurring in conjunction with alcohol intake and exercise among patients using insulin pumps.


We recruited adult type 1 diabetes (T1D) patients on insulin pump therapy. Participants were asked to maintain their daily routines, including those related to exercising and consuming alcohol, and keep a 30-day journal on exercise performed and alcohol consumed. Thirty days of insulin pump data were downloaded. Participants’ actual insulin dosing behaviors were compared against their self-reported behaviors in the setting of exercise and alcohol.


Nineteen T1D patients were recruited and over 4000 interactions with the insulin pump were analyzed. The analysis exposed variability in how subjects perceived the effects of exercise/alcohol on their blood glucose, inconsistencies between self-reported and observed behaviors, and higher rates of blood glucose control behaviors for exercise versus alcohol.


Compensation techniques and perceptions on how exercise and alcohol affect their blood glucose levels vary between patients. Improved individualized educational techniques that take into consideration a patient’s unique life style are needed to help patients effectively apply alcohol and exercise compensation techniques.

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