Thursday, November 25, 2010

How Much Sugar is Really In Your Blood?

I thought I wasn't going to do anything for Thanksgiving. My family's not big on holidays and we almost never get invited anywhere or have anybody accept our invitations. I hate that everywhere is closed and there never seems like there's anything to do.

But last night, I got an email from a friend of mine. I met her a few years ago at a youth group and when I noticed her injecting, we got to talking. She moved a few states over some time ago and I haven't seen her in a long time. She emailed to say that she was in Chicago and had no plans for Thanksgiving, was my invitation to come over still open?

So I am thankful for having an extra reason to bug my father to count the carbs in what he cooks for us! Also thankful to have a father who cooks for me. He is making pizza today. Usually it ends up being about 20 carbs per slice.
I am also thankful for opportunities where somebody else is counting carbs at the same time as me and can give me feedback on how well I'm counting carbs. I love when I'm sitting with somebody else who's counting and one of says, "That's 5 carbs, right?" and the other says, "No, I count it as 15!" and we have to look it up. Usually I'm right, but I was totally wrong about popcorn a while back- I was counting it as 15 carbs per bowl and it was more like 5. Oops.
I'm additionally thankful that I have the math skills to count carbs, and I'm thankful that the hospital that did my diabetes education had switched to the carb counting model rather than the food choices model two years before my diagnosis. Not that I think the food choices model was such a terrible idea, just that I think it would be no where near accurate enough for a person of my size who makes no insulin, and also that it was more limiting.

My 18 year old brother likes to ask me what the highest possible blood sugar would be. I don't know. There are some limiting factors. For instance, the number of mg of sugar that would fit in an mL, and at what point a person would pass out and stop being able to eat. You can bypass the eating bit though, if somebody gives you an IV of glucose, which is how the man with type 1 diabetes below got a blood glucose level of 5600.

Although googling "highest blood sugar recorded" gets you a boy with a blood glucose of not even 2400, one of the doctors in my congregation told me about a patient (an adult) of his who has pancreatic damage and is cognitively impaired. His mother gives him his insulin most days, but a couple times per year this guy decides to go on a trip for a few days, usually to a concert, and doesn't take insulin for that time. Once he came back and came to the doctors, and was peeing in the waiting room, peeing, peeing, peeing. His blood glucose was 2600, or so I'm told. The doctor told me he wouldn't have believed it except that two hours later it was 2400, and two hours after that it was 2200 mg/dl.

Since mg is a mass (milligrams) and dl is a volume (a decaliter), there is no answer to how many mg are in an dL. However, I found a source that says that there are 620 mg/mL of sugar in a sugar syrup, which means that in pure sugar syrup, there are 62,000 mg/dl or sixty two thousand mg/dl.
Also, in older blood sugar records, blood sugar is given as a percentage. And a blood sugar of 200 translates to, in the way they recorded it, 0.2%, which suggests that the blood sugar is out of a total of 100,000 which is one hundred thousand.
So a sugar level of a million mg/dL is impossible even if it doesn't have to have blood in it.


Wendy said...

YUMMY PIZZA!!! Enjoy your day...and having your pal over too :)

I've never thought about the highest number ever -- when I was an ER nurse I did see a BS of 1800 once...she was in her early 20's and was a known T1D -- "frequent flier" as we called her. She came in either seizing and low or in DKA a couple times a month.

I've thought about her quite a bit over the past 5 years. I have no idea whatever happened to her.

Happy Thanksgiving, Jonah.

Reyna said...

YAY for your guest!!! I love hanging with other D Mamas or PWDs...for the same reason. Carb counting...or just learning how they do things...learning.

I hope your day was fantastic.