August 26, 2011

Becoming Blood Glucose Trained (BGAT)

This is an interesting concept and does deserve more attention than it is getting. Most websites do not even mention it and none of the Associations give it much if any space. The only site I have found carrying anything is the American Diabetes Association. You may refer to it here for the full PDF file (7 pages).

I am talking about BGAT (blood glucose awareness training). This is a way for people to become more aware of what their body is telling them about their blood glucose. I have been following some of the steps they use, but was not aware of the training program and some of the essential steps to have success, even though I felt I was doing a decent job, but it turns out a less than fair job of it.

I think that because it is so very labor intensive (complex) and requires a lot of record keeping that many people chose not to even attempt this. For that, I wish more would give it a good trial and see if it would work for them. It is especially helpful in determining whether you are hypoglycemic or hyperglycemic and if you become very good, you can become very accurate in guessing your blood glucose level at anytime – if you learn what your body is telling you.

There are a lot of excellent materials available and several good blogs also and I will give you what I have found, but this only scratches the surface of the material available. Dr. William H. Polonsky directed me to his old book Diabetes Burnout and the chapter "The Hassles of Hypoglycemia".

The University of Virginia is the originator of much of the material and while you can register (link is no longer available) for the program, at present there are no materials available due to lack of funding. Registering for the program may increase those showing interest in it and give more interest in funding, but do not expect anything in the short term. This has been apparently available for about three years, with no results.

I agree with Scott Strumello in what he wrote on September 10, 2008 about this, especially the first five paragraphs. His discussion of the entire subject is worth the reading time. After you read his blog, read the blog by David Spero written on August 17, 2011. This is very interesting and informative as well.

Now that you are into reading about this read another article on the ADA website (6 pages). If needed go back to them (the one above in the first paragraph and this one) when you have the time. Next I refer you to two other articles – here and here.

I have referred to BGAT helping both those with hypoglycemia and hyperglycemia and I believe this is possible, but the primary reason this was developed was for those that were somewhat unaware or totally unaware of hypoglycemia episodes and needed to find unique ways for them to become alert to what was happening with their bodies to aid them in preventing hypoglycemia. For these people the program works very well and has been used to prevent serious to severe hypoglycemia.  I have been asked since I am type 2 and aware of the hypoglycemia symptoms, why am I learning it.  My answer is to find out how complex it is and for the education.

Why CDEs and endocrinologists are not using this to help their patients is still a mystery. Like Scott S., I don't understand why it is not a standard part of education for people experiencing hypoglycemia. Apparently the certified diabetes educators are afraid to tackle anything like this for fear of failure. Many do this anyhow, so why should they ignore this lifesaving tool.

For more on “blood glucose awareness training”, use your search engine for the words in quotes or just use “BGAT”.

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