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

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Abstract

Background:

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.

Methods:

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.

Results:

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.

Conclusion:

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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