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Do you notice a certain smell associated with your insulin?

Happy New Year from your friends at T1D Exchange! Last year we asked 365 questions to the Online Community and we look forward to doing it again this year.

Here’s a breakdown at the most popular Questions of the Day in January.

(*Comments have been edited slightly for clarity as needed.)

On average, how many grams of carbohydrates do you consume per day?

Here are a few insightful comments from community members:

  • “I’m guessing about 125 carbs per day. It may be higher. I do aerobic exercises daily. During t warm weather, I alternate days, one day running, one day gym weights and machines. In the winter, I do my aerobics on an elliptical or bike in the gym (daily). I also use protein drinks when I run outdoors.”
  • “200g or more of carbs. I am very active- walking long distances, bike riding in good weather, spinning classes, resistance training. Now training for a 100k (62 miles). I’m in range 80%+ and my A1c is 6.4. My weight is good and I feel good. I’m almost 75.”
  • “As a “low-carb:er” (LCHF), I have eating max 20 grams of carbs per day for more than 14 years now. During that time I’ve also slowly increased my training to now on average exercise 11 hours per week.”
  • “I used to limit my carbohydrates to under 20g per day and that worked really well. My BG was stable at a nice level. Lately I started to do more weightlifting and try to build up some muscle. For this, I feel I need some more carbs, and now typically eat about 80g on training days.”
  • “I have never counted carbs in 40 years as a T1D.”

Which of the following supplements or vitamins do you take on a regular basis?

Here are a few insightful comments from community members:

  • “I’ve been taking DHA for many years as it’s supposed to keep my brain sharp as I age. And fish oil for my heart.”
  • “Vitamin D because of a low “D” on my blood tests. Also, recently started Iron, because my hemoglobin count has always been below range. I try to eat nuts in my diet for extra magnesium because I exercise a lot.”
  • “1. Vitamin C 2000mg 2. Vitamin B complex 3. CoQ10 100mg 4. Aller-Tec allergy 5. Aspirin 81mg 6. CBD 7. psyllium husk 4 tsp.”
  • “I take a multi-vitamin on the suggestion of my eye doctor, vitamin D on the suggestion of my endo and a flaxseed supplement on the advice of my endo.”
  • “I take alpha lipoic acid to help with diabetic neuropathy.”

When you take an insulin injection or fill your insulin pump with insulin, do you notice a certain smell associated with your insulin?

Here are a few insightful comments from community members:

  • “Yes I notice the smell, even after 45+ years of using insulin. In university I did some medical research where phenolic preservatives were used. My insulin smells much like the lab did.”
  • “Of course! Everyone in my house knows what insulin smells like. Sometimes if they smell it they ask me if I have a leaking site. One time they were right! Good catch!”
  • “I never really paid any attention to the smell but once when my grown kids were home visiting and I was filling my pump, one of my daughters said “oh I like that smell. The smell reminds me of you mom, and so it is a comforting smell”, and my other daughters agreed.”
  • “Yes. Insulin smells like a dentist office, or a doctor’s office, or a hospital. Something like that. I don’t mind the smell at all. It is the smell of life!”
  • “I understand that it is phenol, and I’ve always wondered why, if it is sufficiently concentrated for me to smell it AND for it to potentially kill bacteria, that it doesn’t sting more to inject. To me it smells like crayons — a good smell.”

Thank you to every member of the T1D Exchange Online Community for sharing your experiences. Your words inspire others who come to this community looking for advice and the reminder that they’re not alone.

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