2 days. 8 low blood sugars. The numbers tell the story: the higher you climb, the lower you fall. We all enjoy good paradox, right?
Am I a mountain man? No, partly because it takes me 3 weeks to grow a 5 o’clock shadow, and I spend the majority of my life at sea level. Oxygen likes to have a good time at sea level. It glides into my lungs with relative ease, slips into my blood, and enjoys homeostasis. At high elevations, especially those approaching 10,000 feet, oxygen gets depressed. It hides out with its cats and starts crocheting. In response to this hermitism, the heart works double time. Being that the heart is a relatively selfish organ in its oxygen (and subsequently glucose) use, it singlehandedly elevates our metabolism, by 10-20% at my best guess.
So what’s the end result for the insulin-deficient? Low blood sugars. When you toss in a bit of strenuous hiking on a non-acclimated body, you’ve got yourself the perfect recipe for consistent hypos.
It’s now day 3. I’m about to set out on a hike. Just scarfed down a healthy sized breakfast and I’m defying all logic with a no bolus policy. Why? Well, because it’s hard to bounce back from a low just 30 minutes into a hike. I’ll check every 30 minutes, avoid complete diabetes management ignorance, and bask in some mountain air.
If you’ve traversed the high altitude diabetes management journey, drop us a few tips below!