How To Use Sliding Scale Insulin

How To Use Sliding Scale Insulin

How to Use Sliding Scale Insulin


Julia Hanf

If you are a diabetic who has been using you may have heard your doctor use the term sliding scale insulin. If you have heard this you may be wondering, What is sliding scale insulin and how does it work? Insulin is used to better regulate and control blood sugar levels. We know that when a diabetic s blood sugars are well controlled the likelihood of medical complications or physical symptoms is much lower than when blood sugars are too high. On the other hand, if too much insulin is given blood sugars can drop dangerously low and cause serious side effects. The solution to this problem is to start with small amounts of daily insulin and gradually increase the dose based on the use of sliding scale insulin. The goal is to start slow and go low.

Step 1

Check blood sugars at set times every day. Usually one hour after breakfast, lunch and dinner are good times to check your blood sugar. These sugars are known as postprandial blood sugars and generally are ? diabetic s highest daily readings.

Step 2


Work with your doctor to develop a sliding scale insulin plan. This could mean that you will have to inject yourself with a variable amount of either short acting or ultra-short acting insulin each time you check your postprandial blood sugar.

Step 3

You will need to give yourself 2 units of insulin for blood sugars between 150 and 200 mg. If your blood sugar level is between 201 and 250 mg give yourself 4 units of insulin. For blood sugars between 251 and 300 mg give yourself 6 units of insulin. This incremental increase in insulin dose can go as high as you and your doctor chose. These sliding scale insulin programs were developed to provide diabetics with flexibility. The insulin dose, blood sugar parameters and type of short acting insulin used can all be modified for each individual s needs.

Step 4

Write down how much additional sliding scale insulin you re requiring on ? daily basis. Try to be consistent with our meals, exercise program and daily activity. It is important to look for patterns with your blood sugar levels.

Step 5

Stick with the diabetic diet that your doctor and nutritionist helped create for you. In order to successfully lower your blood sugar you want to maintain a healthy weight.

Step 6

Bring your sliding scale insulin data to you next doctor appointment. The mount of sliding scale insulin you re taking on ? daily basis will be averaged over several weeks. Let s hypothetically say on average you re give yourself 2 units if insulin at breakfast, 3 units at lunch, and 5 units at dinner for ? daily total of 10 units.

Step 7

The daily total of sliding scale insulin is generally added to you current dose if long acting or extended release insulin which is typically given just once a day. A this process continues your once a day extended release insulin dose gradually, but safely, increases and your sliding scale insulin doses throughout the day decline reflecting your improving blood sugar levels.

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