Data and what to make of it

2 11 2009

I just downloaded data from my Dexcom and have been taking a look at it.  There’s so much data and so many different ways of looking at it; it’s hard to tell what to make of it.  There are a few items I like to focus on:

Modal Day screen

  • average blood sugar for the month
  • average blood sugar for the past 3 months
  • standard deviation

Glucose Distribution screen

  • % in range for the month
  • % in range for the past 3 months

Success Report screen

  • compare data montly
  • compare data quarterly

The average will tell me about what my A1c will be.  I use this chart and I have found that comparing my Dexcom average to this chart is very close to my actual A1c.

The standard deviation will tell me if I am doing too much of a rollercoaster.  Lower is better.  I will confess, mine is not as low as I would like, so I know that I need to level it out.

% in range is very important to me.  Knowing that I am in range 75% of the time is greatly empowering.  Knowing that I am 95% in range upon waking is even more empowering.  Of course, knowing I am only 50ish% in range after lunch tells me that I need to work on that area.

Comparing the data from month to month is great for trends.  I can see that my average in October was less that what it was in September, which is great.  I can also see that my average for the last quarter is lower than the previous quarter, so I imagine that my A1c will be lower as well.

Using the Dexcom software can be a little overwhelming (there’s so much more data available than I even mentioned), but if I focus on these few things, I feel like I have a pretty good handle on my diabetes control.

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Control. Maybe a little too much…

3 04 2008

Well, I’ve gotten my 30 day average down to 120.  Hurray!  Other averages I check (21, 14, 7, and 3) all look great too!  I am fully looking forward to around a 5.6 or 5.7 at my next endo appt on April 15th.

Side note: Yes, I’m seeing a real endo.  I finally made an appointment with the best Type 1 endo in the area.  I just hope he’s good.

However, this lower average comes with a cost.  More frequent lows.  About one every other day.  Lame.

GiR threw a fit during my last low and said that I should do more basal testing.  Well, yeah, perhaps.  I’m just trying to get better control, and with better control comes more lows.  I’m also exercising more (more about that in a separate post), which is bringing my insulin requirements down.  I’m still figuring everything out.  For now, I’ve set my target blood sugar back to 95.  Hopefully that will help slightly.

I do miss the times when I wasn’t scarfing down Starburst every 15 minutes.  However, I certainly don’t miss those 200s.  They can kiss my ass.





Not good enough

25 02 2008

What a crappy weekend. I attempted to eat nachos and pizza. Unsuccessfully, of course. My 3 day average is up to 140, which is just flat-out unacceptable. My 30 day average is up to 130, which is too high for my tastes. I need to get my blood sugar down or else I will never be able to have kids.

I know I shouldn’t beat myself up all the time and that I should avoid the “perfectionist” mentality. However, I just can’t do it. My blood sugar HAS to be absolutely perfect. Mentally and emotionally, I just can’t accept a number above 120. It’s just not good enough. Every blood sugar that is out of range makes me sick. When I see my average creeping up, I’m so upset with myself I want to throw up. I’m so disappointed in myself.

Clearly, this attitude is not good for me in the long run. However, I don’t know what to do. I can’t just let myself go and accept the higher numbers. That’s not good for my long-term health either. Any suggestions?

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Average vs. Standard Deviation

6 08 2007

At my pump training a month ago, the pump trainers looked at my blood sugar history. They noted the standard deviation (std dev) was 46 and congratulated me on doing such a good job. Huh? I’m not a math major (that would be GiR), but I know that looking at the std dev alone is not the complete picture; just like looking at the average along is not the complete picture either. Take these examples:

  1. 50, 50, 100, 200
  2. 90, 95, 100, 105, 110

They both have the same average (100), but they have drastically different std devs. #1 has a std dev of 61 and #2 has a std dev of 7. Most glucometers output the average, but you can’t just take that by itself. Clearly a lower std dev indicates better control. However, you can’t just look at std dev by itself either.

  1. 90, 95, 100, 105, 100
  2. 205, 210, 215, 220, 225

We already know that #1 will produce an average of 100 and a std dev of 7. #2 also produces a std dev of 7. Does that mean it is good control? Not really. #2 has an average of 215! Not a place you’d want to be.

All I’m saying is to make sure you take both the average and the standard deviation into consideration. Both numbers together indicate your control. You want an average in your target range and a low standard deviation.

Note: This is the standard deviation calculator I used for this post. It’s a quick little tool that can help provide more data about your blood sugar.