Do you bolus for caffeine?

I was running a basal test Friday morning. Starting at 6am, and testing every hour until noon. No food, no bolus, no variables (or were there?).

6:00 – 94 mg/dl – wow! I’m actually near my target! Good job Scott!
7:00 – 96 mg/dl
8:00 – 101 mg/dl
9:00 – 141 mg/dl – start of drinking diet coke
10:00 – 163 mg/dl – some more diet coke
11:00 – 176 mg/dl – yes, more diet coke
12:00 – 177 mg/dl – end of test, correction bolus taken

I got a few interesting things out of this test.

1) I woke up at around 7:00. Was at work by 8:00. I was under the impression that my bg rises significantly just from getting up and preparing for my day. But, you can see that my bg went up only 4 mg/dl – which is pretty close to exactly the same, considering the variability between tests (different meters, different samples, etc).

2) between 8:00 and 9:00 by bg rose by 40 mg/dl – which is significant enough to test for again. If I can nail that increase down to that particular time, I will adjust my basal rates to prevent it. This will take at least a couple more tests to figure out (never make changes on a single experiment). And if the pattern is not clear (ie, the increase is due to something other than the time of day), it will take many more tests to figure out what is to blame.

3) 9:00 is when I had my first sip of diet coke. I had two 20 ounce bottles between 9:00 and 12:00, and was watching my bg steadily rise.

Was it the caffeine or do I rise like that all the time? Only time, more testing, and trying to avoid the caffeine will tell.

I have heard conflicting stories about whether or not to bolus for caffeine. One very credible source, Gary Scheiner, in his book Think Like a Pancreas, even has a table with suggestions on how much certain levels of caffeine will raise blood sugars! Gary is awesome, and I highly recommend the book.

Some people I know will bolus for their AM coffee, others can drink 4 or 5 cans of diet dew before 9 bells and not see their bg increase at all.

So – do you bolus for caffeine? What is your formula? Is it a calculation, or a SWAG bolus?

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Scott K. Johnson

Patient voice, speaker, writer, advocate, and Senior Community Manager at Blue Circle Health. Living life with diabetes and telling my story. All opinions expressed are my own and do not necessarily represent my employer’s position. Read more…

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