Insulin but how much ?

Insulin but how much ?

Insulin but how much  i  should inject daily to keep my blood sugar in safe levels ? This question confuse may diabetic peoples . Diabetes is now spreading very fast all over the world. According to a survey, more than 540 million people world wide  are living with diabetes. It is estimated that 783 million people world wide  will have diabetes in  the year 2045. We are publishing different articles  about diabetes  in  ” ”  regularly. We recommend you to read our article ” Are you diabetic? Part-1 ” for basic information about diabetes .


  • Diabetes – Basic information.
  • Insulin.
  • Type of insulin.
  • Insulin Resistance.
  • Basal insulin dose.
  • Bolus insulin dose.
  • Insulin but how much ?
  • Calculate your insulin need.
  • Some other factors.
  • High blood sugar.
  • Low blood sugar ( Hypoglycemia )
  • Ketones.


Diabetes – Basic information.

All-Mighty Allah has created human being in a perfect and complete design with different body parts. Every part of human body has its unique functions. Our  tiny pancreas situated beneath our stomach has a very important role. There are beta cells in pancreas which release a Harmon called ” Insulin “.   What ever we eat, it is converted into glucose after digestion. This glucose provide strength to our body . To carry and burn the glucose in our muscles, insulin is needed. When due to many reasons, our pancreas does not release insulin , the glucose remain in our circulating blood.  In the absence of insulin, the glucose is not burnt and our muscles do not get any strength, we become weak . This condition is called Diabetes.

Diabetes  is divided into three types.

  • Diabetes type 1 :

When the pancreas does not release insulin at all, this condition is called Diabetes type 1. Diabetes type 1  is usually in adults. The patient has to inject external insulin daily for his/her whole life.

  • Diabetes type 1.5 .

Diabetes type 1.5 is also known as latent autoimmune diabetes in adults . This condition has the symptoms of diabetes type 1 and diabetes type 2. This type of diabetes is not reversible. Change of diet and life style do not effect on it. Beta cells of pancreas stop releasing  insulin more quickly. The patient has to inject external insulin daily, for whole life.

  • Diabetes type 2.

When our pancreas ‘ beta cells, due to many reasons, become weak and do not release enough insulin , this condition is called diabetes type 2. There are some medications which compel the pancreas to release  more insulin. Such medication have their side effects. These medications  affects for some time, say 3 to 5 years. After that the patient has to start injecting external insulin for rest of his/her life.


Dr. sir Frederick Banting and  Dr. Charles Best  from Canada are the first scientists who were able to get insulin from animal’s pancreas. This insulin was in a very small quantity, which was not enough for many patients. Scientists try to analyzed the basic insulin and after so many efforts ,  they were able to manufacture the artificial elements of insulin. The insulin available in the markets now a days , is the true copy of original  insulin with original effects.

Insulin manufacturers have divided insulin in different category. These are :

  • Very short acting  (Lispro)

This type of insulin  start working within 5 minutes, works best for 1/2 to 1 hour, and ends after 3 hours.

This type of insulin starts worki

  • Short acting  ( Regular)

ng within 1/2 hour, works best for 2 to 5 hours, and ends after 5 – 8 hours. Regular insulin has many ups and down in its effects if taken alone.

Intermediate acting (NPH)

This insulin starts working within 1 – 2 hours , works best for 6 to 10 hours and ends within 16 – 20 hours.

  • Intermediate acting (Lente)

This insulin starts working within 1 to 2 hours, wok best for 8 to 12 hours, and ends within 18 – 24 hours.

  • Long acting (Ultra Lente)

The insulin start working within 4 – 6 hours, work best 10 to 18 hours and ends after 24 – 28 hours.

  • Combinations :  70% NPH + 30 % R    or   50 % NPH + 50 %  R

Such insulin start working within 30 minutes , works  best 7 – 12 hours, and ends after 16 – 20 hours. This combination reduces ups and down of regular insulin.

Insulin Resistance.

Insulin resistance is when cells in our muscles, fat, and liver don’t respond well to insulin and can’t easily take up glucose from our blood. As a result, our pancreas makes more insulin to help glucose enter your cells. In such condition, insulin is not used and insulin is accumulated in our blood. Our pancreas is still releasing insulin.  If you would like to know more about insulin resistance, please read our article ” Insulin Resistance “.

Before we go further, you should know the following :

  • Basal insulin dose.

What ever insulin amount  you usually inject yourself daily , is known as Basal insulin dose. It does not matter what food you eat.

  • Bolus insulin dose.

When you eat carbohydrates throughout the day, more insulin dose is needed  to correct extra glucose produced by carbohydrates . This insulin dose is called  Bolus insulin dose. This will be corrected with a Bolus insulin dose of  rapid-acting insulin.

Insulin but how much ?

Ok. we got it that insulin is the final choice to keep our diabetes in safe levels. But question is how much insulin we should inject ourselves for better living with diabetes. Your doctor definitely have  told you how much insulin dose you will inject your self in the morning and evening. That is your Basal insulin dose. If you have eaten more food which has excess carbohydrates, now you need a bolus insulin dose.

The University of California , San Francisco recommend a general rule for bolus insulin dose as under :

”  1 unit of rapid acting insulin  will process 12 to 15 grams of                               carbohydrates “.  You must know how much carbohydrates you have consumed before injecting a bolus insulin.

Calculate your insulin need.

Check your blood sugar level before a meal.

  • If your blood sugar level is  within the levels set by your doctor, then you do not  need further insulin.
  • If your blood sugar is more than the safe levels ( set by your doctor ) , then add more insulin according to the following formula :

Generally one unit of fast acting insulin will bring your sugar level               down  by 50 points“. 

  • If you are planning to eat more carbohydrate, calculate how many grams you will approximately consume. For every  12 – 15 gram of carbohydrates , usually one unit of fast acting insulin is enough. Playing on safe side,  ask your doctor if this calculation is ok for you.
  • For example if you will consume  60 gram of carbohydrates , then you will add 4 units of fast acting insulin. These 4 unit of insulin  will be added in your daily insulin dose.  Explaining the above formula, if you are injecting  yourself 16 units of insulin  as daily routine , and you will eat extra  60 grams of carbohydrates , then your insulin dose will be  16 + 4 = 20 units.
  • It is advised to consult your doctor. Explain  to him/her your calculation, and let the doctor decide what is better for you.
Some other factors.

Insulin does not affect every body equally. There are some other factors to be considered.  The American Diabetes Association include the following factors :

  • Your diabetes type ( Type 1, type 1.5 or type 2 ).
  • Your injection site. and when change it.
  •  Your typical diet and how much calories you take.
  • Time when you inject insulin in a day.
  • Your exercise, daily, twice a week , kind of exercise.
  • Do you have stress?
  • Other illness .
High blood sugar  ( Hyperglycemia).

When the blood sugar level is high, it is called hyperglycemia . Its symptoms are :

  • Extreme thirst.
  • Blurred vision.
  • Very large amount of ketones .  Ketones are a type of chemical that our liver produces when it breaks down fats. Our body uses ketones for energy typically during fasting, long periods of exercise, or when we don’t have as many carbohydrates. We can have low levels of ketones in our blood without it being a problem .
  • Urination frequently.
  • Vomiting.
  • Loss of consciousness .
  • Can not wake up from sleep.

Above symptoms require immediate medical attention.

Low blood sugar ( Hypoglycemia).

When blood sugar level is less than  80 mg/dl, it is called Hypoglycemia, Its symptoms are :

  • Dizziness.
  • Shakiness.
  • Headache.
  • Sweating.
  • Weakness.

If you feel above symptoms, drink any sweetened syrup. Sweet milk  will also help to raise the blood sugar. Call a doctor immediately .


When our insulin level is very low, it can not take glucose to our body and produce energy , our body use fat for energy instead of glucose. When fat is broken down, ketones are build up in our body. Ketones are a type of chemical that our liver produces when it breaks down fats. Our body uses ketones for energy typically during fasting, long periods of exercise, or when we don’t have as many carbohydrates. We can have low levels of ketones in our blood without it being a problem. When you have higher than normal blood sugar (Over 240 mg/dl ) you must check your urine or blood for ketones. If you find ketones in your urine or blood, it means that your body cell are having trouble to get enough glucose. It indicates that you are at risk for a serious condition known as Diabetic Ketoacidosis . The symptoms will be as under:

Early symptoms of Diabetic Ketoacidosis ( DKA) :

  • Extreme thirst.
  • Urinating more than usual.

DKA has a tendency to get worse within short time. Its severe symptoms  include:

  • Rapid deep breathing.
  • Fruity smell breath.
  • Dry skin and mouth.
  • Headache.
  • Flashing of face.
  • Stiff or achy muscles.
  • Pain in stomach.
  • Vomiting.
  • Feeling of tiredness.

If you experience above symptoms, consult your doctor immediately.

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