This is another one for my new Glossary Page.
But first . . . Friday breakfast, my friends. It is epic. It is on my plate. And yes, it is completely necessary - every Friday without fail. Check it out below . . .
Back to - The Dawn Phenomenon
This is a term us PWD’s sometimes throw around thinking everyone MUST know what a dawn phenomenon is - until it dawns on us (see what I did there?) that no one is on the same page, because why would they be?
Similarly, I wouldn't learn any of the ins and outs of Star Wars if it weren't essential to my marriage. I’d love to make a Star Wars pun here, but I wouldn't want to force it . . .
Oh, how it hurts to be me.
You can read about the other main cause of high morning blood sugars here - The Somogyi Effect.
Again, this is pre-coffee brain pouring this one out, so please check Wikipedia for a more structured / less pun filled explanation.
The Dawn Phenomenon - what are you and why do you happen to PWD’s?
The Dawn Phenomenon (referred to from here-on-in as DP to save my over lanceted finger-tips) occurs somewhere between 2am - 8am for some PWD’s. Not everyone experiences this, but if you do, you probably know about it or your diabetes team may have flagged it.
It’s those damn hormones again. Responsible for so much mischief.
Unlike the Somogyi Effect, the DP has nothing to do with low blood sugar levels triggering a hormonal response. Nope, the DP is caused by run of the mill, everyday hormonal releases, which are essential to life.
During the night, as we move into daylight hours, the body throws out things like: growth hormones, cortisol, epinephrine and glucagon - which triggers the liver to convert stored glycogen into glucose - cue high blood sugars. You can look up the long list of hormones thought to be released using Google, if you’re super interested in the detail.
The effect? It pushes our blood sugar levels up.
I always like to think it’s my body giving me a little boost to help me get my backside out of bed in the mornings. Perhaps I’m a little hormone deficient if that’s the case . . .
So, sometimes PWD’s wake up with higher blood sugar levels than desired, because our pancreas is not making insulin to bring things back to a ‘normal’ level again. Which is what happens inside the bodies of everyone else when these hormones are released.
As always, work with your diabetes team / specialist to address this if you have diabetes.
I take a small amount of insulin to counter DP because it happens when I’m awake. If I don’t, my blood sugars elevate way up high on their own before breakfast. And I HATE having to wait for my breakfast.
Some people use their pump to counter it with their basal rate set higher for the DP. But everyone is different and only your specialist medical team will know what’s best for you.
So there it is. The Dawn Phenomenon is an elevated blood sugar level in the morning, caused by normal hormonal releases, usually found in PWD’s because of the absence of a fully functioning pancreas.
Hop over to my Glossary Page for more of the strange terminology we use when chatting about diabetes.