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Diabetes Defined: Dawn Phenomenon, Somogyi Effect, and Feet to Floor Syndrome

Diabetes Defined: Dawn Phenomenon, Somogyi Effect, and Feet to Floor Syndrome

*Disclaimer: All content and information in this blog is for informational and educational purposes only.

 

If you are living with diabetes, you likely have experienced one (or more) of these scenarios. Instead of scratching your head trying to make sense of what your blood sugar is doing, this blog post is going to break them down so you have more clarity on your blood sugar data and considerations to bring up to your healthcare team.

 

Dawn Phenomenon

Dawn Phenomenon is the event when your liver begins to release extra glucose into your bloodstream. Your liver will typically begin releasing glucose around 3-6 in the morning which will result in a gradual rise in blood sugars through the early morning hours. This could look like going to bed with a blood sugar of 100mg/dL and waking up with a blood sugar of 160mg/dL.

 

Reflection Questions:

  • When does your blood sugar start to go up? If so, how much?
  • Is it a consistent pattern?

 

Depending on how much your blood sugar is rising, your healthcare team may recommend making adjustments to your basal rate for insulin pump users and/or basal rate timing for multiple daily injection users.

 

Feet to Floor Syndrome

Unlink Dawn Phenomenon, feet-to-floor syndrome occurs upon waking up (AKA when your feet first touch the floor). With feet-to-floor syndrome, you may notice a gradual rise in morning blood sugars even if you don’t eat anything due to the increase in hormone levels during the early morning hours.

 

Reflection Questions:

  • Is it breakfast?
  • Is it coffee/dehydration?

 

In order to see if you are impacted by feet-to-floor syndrome, your healthcare team may recommend skipping breakfast to see if your blood sugar levels stay steady or if they have a gradual rise.

 

Somogyi Effect

The Somogyi Effect is quite unique because blood sugars will quickly drop around 2-3AM, but then results in a dramatic increase in blood sugar levels afterwards. Unlike Dawn Phenomenon, which is a gradual rise in blood sugars during the early morning hours, the somogyi effect is the result of a low blood sugar followed by a subsequent hormonal response leading to a rise in blood sugar levels.

 

Reflection Questions:

  • How are you treating meals and snacks before bed?
  • Is your correction factor too strong?
  • Is it a response to activity?

 

When experiencing the somogyi effect, it is important to work with your care team in order to find the root cause and make adjustments as needed.

 

If this is your first time hearing these terms, you may want to check out Keeping it 100 Radio- Episode 6: Diabetes Defined: Dawn Phenomenon, Somogyi Effect, and Feet to Floor Syndrome. Listen to the full episode on Keeping it 100 Radio today on Apple Podcasts or Spotify.

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