If you use an insulin pump or multiple daily injections to treat your diabetes, you’ve probably heard of (or performed) basal rate testing. It’s a test you can perform to measure the appropriateness of your basal (or background) insulin doses. The idea is to sit back and watch what happens to your blood sugar with as few variables as possible in play. That means no exercise, no active insulin from recent boluses, and no leftover carbohydrates making their way through your bloodstream.
Basal rate testing can be quite helpful in fine-tuning your daily insulin doses, but it can also be tedious, frustrating, and cause sudden cravings for things like pancakes and baked potatoes. Here are a few ways to test your basal rates without losing your mind.
Plan ahead. If you want to conduct an effective, informative basal rate test, pretty much all the stars have to align. Make sure you’re not sick, or unusually stressed out, or training for a marathon.
Tell your friends. Nothing will make you feel sorrier for yourself than being invited out for a lunchtime burrito feast by your coworkers. If you’re comfortable disclosing your status, let your friends know how they can help you.
Stock up. If you have a continuous glucose monitor, make sure it’s charged up and ready to go.
Start off with a full vial of test strips, alcohol swabs, and a fresh battery in your glucose meter. This is not the time to run out of anything.
Sleep through it. The best thing about a nighttime basal test? You’re not awake to realize how hungry you are.
Write it all down. It seems obvious, but you’ll get more out of your results if you record all the times, all the blood sugars, and all the other variables that might have an effect on your numbers.
Reward yourself. Plan a nice meal or some time with friends for the end of your basal rate test. The food will taste extra delicious, and you’ll feel more proactive about your self care.