DAFNE and Me (Dose Adjustment For Normal Eating)

You would be forgiven for thinking that DAFNE is a lady with Type 1 diabetes. But actually it stands for dose adjustment for normal eating and is a life changing part of modern diabetes treatment and management.

I attended a version of the DAFNE course just before going onto an insulin pump 5 years ago. Prior to going onto the course and whilst still using injections for insulin therapy I initially took 4 basic injections. The injections were always the same amount of insulin during the morning, lunchtime and evening, which were fast acting. Then I would do a fourth injection of long lasting insulin before bed in the evening. I was on a similar insulin regime no matter what kind of day it was, whether I had training or not, whether I was in or school or if it was a weekend.

In the beginning this routine worked well for me, whilst I was still during my honey moon period (when you have Type 1 diabetes, but your pancreas still produces some but a small amount of insulin). However, as I stopped producing my own insulin and when everyday was never the same, 4 injections was not enough. As very few people eat the same food and the same amount every day. So as my blood sugars began to rise between meal times, I eventually had to split my fast acting insulin into two portions. One to be given in the morning and one to be given in the night. Then finally I found I was on up to 10 injections a day on bad days, just to allow me to train and to feel well enough to do day to day things like going to school.

A few years on and this was a large part of the reason why at the age of 20, I went onto the waiting list for an insulin pump. But in preparation for the pump I needed to be taught to carbohydrate count. The training for this began with my hospital dietician, we would look at food labelling together in order to understand the amounts of carbohydrate that go into packaged food. From there we moved onto looking at images of meals and using the packet knowledge I had already gained to aim to accurately guess how much carbohydrate was in a meal. I used a pocket guide in between education sessions to try and memorise the foods that I ate regularly and they're carbohydrate values.

I was then given a carbohydrate to insulin ratio - which is how you decide how much insulin to take per amount of carbohydrate you're eating. My ratio was 1 unit of insulin : 10 grams of carbohydrate and still continues to be. Everybody's ratio will be different. But you know when your ratio is right because your blood sugars will be where they need to be approximately 2 hours after eating. Whether you pay to go on a DAPHNE course, are recommended by your health care professionals or are fortunate enough to have it delivered by your healthcare team- it will be one of the best changes to your diabetes possibly since going on insulin. I can't imagine being back in the old days where there was so much guess work involved in diabetes management. Take some of the guessing out of diabetes and learn to carbohydrate count for meals.








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My blog takes you through a daily look at sport, diabetes and everything in between. As an athlete that lives with type 1 diabetes I want to let you into news, views and all that is important to both of my passions.

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