Wednesday, May 8, 2013

What do the Numbers Mean?

Every once in a while, someone on one of the type 1 diabetes blogs that I read will post their basal rates. Or their daily bolus amounts. Or their insulin:carb sensitivity factors.

I'm usually surprised by the numbers they post.

Probably because I am used to my numbers and, because my numbers and I spend so much quality time together, they become the norm.

It has me wondering though. Is there a norm when it comes to insulin usage? Is it like body mass index or hip:waist circumference where there is an ideal range to be in? Is insulin sensitivity of any importance to a type 1? Is it something to try to improve the way we work on our A1C?

In the interest of full disclosure, here are a few of my numbers.

My basal rates are, using the 24-hour clock:

00:00-03:00 0.75 units/hour
03:00-07:00 0.80 units/hour
07:00-11:30 0.90 units/hour
11:30-17:00 0.95 units/hour
17:00-00:00 0.80 units/hour

My bolus rates are:

00:00-06:30 1 unit of insulin for every 10 grams of carbs (or 1:10)
06:30-11:00 1:8
11:00-16:00 1:6
16:00-00:00 1:8

My correction factor is: 1 unit of insulin will drop my blood glucose by 4.8.

On a typical day, I use about 40-45 units of insulin. Twenty units of that is my basal, the other 20-25 is my bolus for food and for correcting high blood sugar.

Some people I know use 20-25 units of insulin per day. Total.

Others use 60 or 80 units.

I'm sure that there are people out there who use less than 20 units and those that use 100 units or more.

I'm just trying to figure out if insulin usage is just like every other part of diabetes - completely random and completely personal. Or is there a magic range, like the A1C range, that we are supposed to strive for?

Not that I need anything else to worry about. Just curious is all.

1 comment:

  1. There actually are rules of thumb for insulin. Some, like "total daily dose" (TDD) are based on body weight and activity level. Others, like the basal/bolus split are fractional. I don't remember the TDD guidelines, since I don't follow them, but some people are super-strict about maintaining a particular TDD. I'm not sure it would ever work for me. On the other hand, the rule of thumb that basal insulin should account for 40-60% of TDD is one that I look at from time to time. The idea is that if you go too far on one side or the other, your basal rates are probably wrong. Obviously, do whatever works.