Serious Fanfare

“The thrill of victory—the agony of defeat” can play havoc with your blood-glucose levels—even if you’re merely cheering for your favorite team.

Italian researchers M.G. Cavallo, S. Romeo, G. Coppolino and P. Pozzilli examined a 25-year-old Italian man with type 1 diabetes who was wearing a MiniMed Continuous Glucose Monitoring System both the day before and the day of the semi-final soccer match between Italy and Holland during the European Soccer Championship on June 29, 2000. The research was published in the February issue of Diabetologia.

The researchers’ goal was to find out what stress can do to a well-regulated person’s BG levels. And they found during the soccer match stress could deliver quite a kick.

While the man’s blood-glucose levels remained between about 90 and 150 mg/dl the day before the match, the added stress of cheering his team on apparently “headed” his glucose levels out of bounds.

Despite following his normal eating and injection regimen on the day of the match and refraining from food and drink during the match, the man’s levels began a sharp rise at the beginning of the game, and spiked to 302 mg/dl “at the exact time when penalties concluded the thrilling semi-final match,” say researchers.

Researchers say that use of the Continuous Glucose Monitoring System showed the unpredictability of the body’s response to events such as the soccer match, which limits a person’s ability to adjust insulin.

In the subject’s case, it was the thrill of victory that caused his sugar levels to spike: His team won. In celebration, he added some extra insulin to his dinner dosages and his levels were out of the penalty area in a short time.

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