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After some time living with diabetes, you may have noticed that to a large extent the response to diabetes control is in the data.
In other words, if you manage to interpret and understand well what your diabetological data reflects, it will be easier for you to reach control and maintain it, but do you know what data you need? What to do with them? What data are more important or have more weight for control? How to interpret the data and respond to the signals that give me the data?
In this article we will give you some keys that you should know in order to get the most benefit from your data.
What data do I need to control diabetes?
First, identify the data that you need to register and save, then interpret and give them the utility they have. They are the following:
- Glucose measurements
- Insulin doses and / or medication
- Food registration (type, quantities in rations and / or in grams of carbohydrates, and preparations)
- Physical activity and exercise record
What to do with that data and what is their purpose in the diabetes control?
Each kind of data will have relevance in the glycemic control, but, the main one will be the glucose measurements, because they are the numerical expression of your diabetes.
Glucose measurements are the result of everything you do and your self-care decisions on a day-to-day.
The insulin record or other medication, serves to observe the effect of the medication on your glucose levels, whether they favor stability, or that the glycemic response indicates that you have to raise or lower the dose.
The food register will allow you to know the glycemic response to food, in relation to the amount (specifically of carbohydrates), the glycemic index, the consumption and balance of other nutrients (fats and proteins that impact the glucose response), method of cooking or preparing food.
The record of physical activity or exercise serves to observe the impact that exercise has on glucose and to decide what type of exercise favors you most in your control, or if it is necessary to modify the time or intensity.
Finally, registering the mood or situations related to stress or emotional aspects will help you identify how it affects your glucose.
What data are more important?
All the data around your diabetes are important, but certainly, there are some with more weight to evaluate glycemic control and, therefore, have more impact to make changes in treatment.
For example, for a person who has frequent hypoglycemias, it will be more relevant to take care of the effect of exercise and of all the elements that favor hypoglycemia, while for a person who has peaks of postprandial hyperglycemia (after eating), it will be more relevant the data in relation to carbohydrates and diet characteristics.
Therefore, the most relevant data are not the same for everyone, because each person is different and each diabetes shows unique characteristics; nevertheless, the fundamental data is the glucose logs, without it, the other data would be useless.
How to interpret the data and respond to the signals that the diabetes data give me?
Once we know what each type of logs or data means, the most important thing is to give the correct interpretation at each moment to know how to act. To do this, having the data expressed in graphs is very helpful when it comes to identifying patterns or the most unstable moments, and not going crazy with so much data in a list of numbers.
Working with SocialDiabetes graphics
SocialDiabetes facilitates the work by generating graphs with your logs automatically and systematically, so, you will only focus on how to act with the results that we already process for you; Let’s see some examples of how to interpret and what to do with the data that you generate and that are shown in the graphics that you see in the SocialDiabetes app.
First, you should know that you can select the time interval you want to be plotted, which can be from “last week”, “last two weeks”, “last month” or the “last three months” of the date you see the graphics.
Graph: daily glucose
This graph shows the daily glucose average of the selected interval (in this case it is the last two weeks) in a superimposed form, with all the days on the same plane, with what is shown in darker color. Average of every day with a specific value in each point of the chart placed in the hours in which you record the measurements, and in lighter color the area with glucose values that are far from that average.
This helps you to identify at what time of day you have been closest to or away from your glucose goal during those two weeks, and at what times your values are less variable or more consistent on all days.
For example, in this graph it is observed that between 10:00 and 10:00 hrs, the values do not vary much between the days of those two weeks, that is to say, that every day at that hour your average glucose stays in a range between 80 and 100mg / dl of glucose. While in the hours from 7:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. and from 8:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m., it is when there is more variation of figures between days.
With this data, you could look in the logbook for the data of the timetables that you identify important to analyze and check what elements are generating the variability, if it is due to inconsistency in the diet, if it is due to a wrong carbohydrate count and entering think that consumption a different amount to the real one, the insulin dose for those carbohydrates is also inadequate, or if the insulin dose is no longer adequate due to changes in my sensitivity factor (SF) or in the insulin carbohydrate ratio or insulin ratio.
Note: it is important to take into account the fact of having data, it may be that only the measurement point without the shade light color because there is only glucose data in that time in a day and not necessarily because there is no variation between days.
Graph: Daily average
In this graph you can see the average of your glucose logs for each day within the selected interval, as well as the deviation from that average, so you can know which day you have been closest to the target and which day further away from it, at same time to see what day there was more variability in your glucose.
In this example, it can be seen that on day 24/02, the day on which the highest figure of 225mg / dl was reached, the Logbook of that day would have to be reviewed to identify which aspects influenced that figure.
For example that day in the Logbook, there is a photo of the food in which there is beer as a drink and a log of 60g. of carbohydrates, therefore it could be related that elevation of glucose with the consumption of beer that perhaps was not correctly accounted for in the total of carbohydrates.
From this analysis keep in mind that you should be more careful when you get to drink beer and make sure you know how to do the correct carbohydrate count to include alcoholic beverages and prevent it from happening again, this if you do the subsequent analysis, although the ideal would be that at that time we had the 225mg / dl the cause was identified and maybe corrected with more doses of insulin by adding the carbohydrates of the beer.
On the other hand it can be seen that day 01/03 is the day with the highest glycemic variability with figures ranging from 54 to 179mg / dl, seeing it in the graph as standard deviation area (once having the graph you can zoom to see the data more in detail
Graph: Glucose for food
In this graph the averages of the glucose figures are shown according to the meal time, on the days of the selected interval, with which you can see in which meal time you have more or less glucose control.
In this example you can notice that the figure after dinner is the highest, so first of all we would think that it is the responsibility of the dinner food, but if we note that also the pre-dinner figure (before dinner) It is also out of range, and that the elevation of glucose between the pre-dinner and post-dinner is not significantly high, we will conclude that the problem is in the pre-dinner period that makes it arrive with a high value, and that all the elements that occur at that time of the day will have to be reviewed to determine the cause and possible correction.
While in the period between after lunch (lunch) and before evening snack (before snack) is the lowest figure, so we should review the data in the logbook and assess the risk of hypoglycemia and what factors would be what to correct
Graph: Glucose ranges
This graph shows the percentage of time, of the total of the figures logged, that is in a certain range of glucose, that is, you can see your time in range. The graph shows the number of measurements within each range and the percentage that represents the total, with which you can make a quick assessment of your degree of glycemic control and if it would be necessary to make important adjustments to your treatment always with the support and guidance of Your team of health professionals.
In this example you can see that if you see the figures of the last two weeks has a high percentage in the range of 75% and that the trend is more towards the high since there are no hypoglycemia, but if you see figures that cover more time As of the last three months, there is already a lower percentage of time in the range of only 33% and more variable glycemia including hypo and hyperglycemia.
With this explanation you will have more elements to make the most of your data and that this benefit is reflected in better glycemic control and more self-knowledge of your diabetes.
Remember that SocialDiabetes is the way to manage your diabetes from your pocket, making it easier for you.