“Insulin Basics” For Type 1 Diabetes – From Diabetes Education Online

Diabetes Education Online – Diabetes Teaching Center at the University of California, San Francisco – is an excellent resource for persons with Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes.

The following are excerpts from Insulin Basics of Diabetes Education Online:

Insulin Basics

Natural insulin (i.e. insulin released from your pancreas) keeps your blood sugar in a very narrow range. Overnight and between meals, the normal, non-diabetic blood sugar ranges between 60-100mg/dl and 140 mg/dl or less after meals and snacks.

When you have type 1 diabetes, you will need to start insulin therapy because you no longer make your own insulin. The insulin therapy tries to mimic natural or non-diabetic insulin secretion. There are two components of insulin therapy – [Basal Insulin Replacement Therapy and Bolus Insulin Replacement]

Basal Replacement:

  • Controls glucose overnight and between meals by keeping fat in fat tissue and curbing glucose production from the liver.
  • Provides a low, continuous level of insulin.
  • Can be a long-acting insulin, which you inject once or twice daily such as the insulin analogs, insulin glargine, insulin detemir and NPH.
  • Or can be a rapid-acting insulin continuously infused under the skin, if you are using an insulin pump.
  • Represents about 50% or half of the body’s daily insulin requirements.

Bolus insulin replacement

There are two kinds of bolus replacement:

  • Mealtime Bolus – to cover the carbohydrate in the meal or snack.
  • High Blood Sugar Correction Bolus – provides extra insulin to return the blood sugar back to the target level when your blood sugar is too high.
    • Bolus Insulin is usually provided by a rapid-acting insulin analogs, such as insulin aspart, insulin Lyspro, and insulin glulisine or Regular insulin.
    • Represents about 10% to 20% of the daily insulin requirement at each meal, or about 50% of the body’s daily insulin needs.



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