Monday, 23 April 2012

Insulin in General

Insulin in General

I don't know a whole lot about insulin so I will only relate what my experience with it is.  Everyone's body is completely different so please follow your Dr's instructions to a T.

I am using Humalog as a fast acting insulin. (This is what you will hear people refer to as "bolus".)  I take this before breakfast, lunch, supper, and depending on how my blood glucose is before my night time snack.  This insulin helps the body take care of the sugars that I am consuming through food.  I use carb counting as my method of deciding my dose.  There are many other methods to determine your dose and your Dr or diabetes educator should be able to go over these with you.  For example, the first two weeks of diagnosis I had to eat 75 carbs per meal and take 8 units of Humalog with each meal. It is not easy to eat 75g of carbs for breakfast and lunch in a healthy way!  That's a lot of food!    After that nightmare we switched to carb counting. I will write more about carb counting in another post.  For me it made my life a whole lot easier.

I use Levemir as my long lasting insulin.  (This is what you will hear people refer to as "basal".)  I am lucky my insurance covers Levemir as I understand not all policies do.  This insulin lasts about 22-24 hours.  I take it at 10 pm. (The same time I do my night time blood glucose monitoring.  The same time I have a night time snack if I am going to have one. That is my evening routine.)  The reason to take this type of insulin is to take care of the glucose that your body naturally produces throughout the day.  I started taking 28 units of the Levemir.  Now after about 8 months I am at 40 units per night.  With that increase my HBA1C has dropped as well.

The funny thing with insulin is that it can take a long time to get the dosage right and many different things effect the dosage. With me they started me on a lighter dose and I worked it up gradually.  They said it would be too much of a shock for my body to go from such high sugars to regular sugars. When I was originally diagnosed my sugars were around 30 (550 for my American friends). They had probably been like that for a while. Now they are consistently around 7 (120 for Americans) or so.  It has been about 8 months since my diagnosis. 

Another reason health care workers don't want you to get too aggressive with the insulin is then you run the risk of going low too often.  They would rather just have your sugars run a little higher a little longer until  you know how your body is reacting to the insulin. That is the thing about managing your diabetes, it is not an exact science.  It is constantly changing.  Anything can effect your blood glucose level.  Stress, exercise, diet, illness, etc.  That changes your insulin needs as well.  That is the reason it is so important to constantly monitor your blood glucose, it is the only way you are going to get your insulin levels to a safe place.


  1. Ryan Wilson

    How often do you test your blood sugar? I am just curious to how I compare. I usually test before every meal and bed. What do you use to inject? Needles or pens? Which do you prefer? Thanks for the info. I don't know many people who have Type 1.

  2. Hi Ryan. I test before I eat as I carb count so I need to do that to get the correct dosage. I always test before bed as I use that to gauge if I should use Humalog when/if I have a nighttime snack. If I am feeling off after a meal I will test to see. I think it is important to test 2 hours after every once in a while just to make sure your insulin dosage is correct. Also, if I haven't tested an hour before I drive I test then. I don't want to lose my license or get sued because I caused an accident because of a hypo.

    I use pens. I haven't ever used a needle so I can't comment to that. I know I would not feel comfortable with having to draw out the insulin and do that whole regimen with a syringe. Even the sight of my tiny pen needles still makes me queasy.

    Thanks for visiting. The reason I started this was to hopefully help people like us out and where we can share tips and experiences.

  3. Anonymous

    My husband is 34 years old and was diagnosed type 1 3 weeks ago. He has also been told to eat 75g carbs at lunch which I am finding to be an excessive amount of food, but even after eating he says he is still hungry. Did you find this? How long after you started medication did the doctor allow you to start adjusting your own carbs and insulin levels?

  4. Sorry it has taken me so long too reply. I found the 75 grams extremely challenging to eat that much. That would be a huge carb intake for me now at some meals. It was about 2 weeks until I started using carb counting to adjust my insulin. It has changed my life. It just allows for so much more freedom. If your husband has not started carb counting yet, get him to ask his endocronologist about it. It will change his life for the better. Hopefully that helps