Lets Look At An Example
Lets say that you check your blood sugar before a meal and its 170. Youll need 1 unit to adjust to your target of 120.
If you plan to eat a meal that has 60 grams of carbohydrates, youll need to give yourself 6 units of insulin to adjust for your meal.
This means youll need 7 units total.
If your child needs help learning to calculate their insulin needs, Childrens Healthcare of Atlanta has created a helpful worksheet just for this.
Remember, there are two components to insulin correction:
- your blood sugar levels before your meal
- corrections for the carbohydrates you eat
Combine both of these when considering how much insulin to inject.
Things To Remember In Order To Change Insulin Doses:
- If the pattern happens at the blood sugar check before breakfast, change the long-acting insulin dose by 10 percent.
- If the pattern happens at the blood sugar check before lunch, change the breakfast rapid-acting insulin dose by 10 percent.
- If the pattern happens at the blood sugar check 2 to 3 hours after lunch, change the lunch rapid-acting insulin dose by 10 percent.
- If the pattern happens at the blood sugar check 2 to 3 hours after supper , change the supper rapid-acting insulin dose by 10 percent.
- If your blood sugar is above 180 two to three hours after a meal, ask yourself what caused this.
- Common reasons for high blood sugar 2 to 3 hours after eating are:
- Not taking insulin at least 15 minutes before eating
- Eating too much carbohydrate or too much quick-acting carbohydrate
- Not taking enough insulin to cover the carbohydrate
- Not eating protein or fat in your meal
- Eating a very high fat meal
If you rule out numbers 1 and 2, you may need to take more insulin next time.
- If the pattern is high blood sugar, you will increase the insulin dose that affects that column of blood sugars.
- If the pattern is low blood sugar, you will decrease the insulin dose that affects that column of blood sugars.
How Long To Lower Blood Sugar With Diet And Exercise
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Total Daily Insulin Requirement:
= 500 ÷ TDI = 1unit insulin/ 12 g CHO
This example above assumes that you have a constant response to insulin throughout the day. In reality, individual insulin sensitivity varies. Someone who is resistant in the morning, but sensitive at mid-day, will need to adjust the insulin-to-carbohydrate ratio at different meal times. In such a case, the background insulin dose would still be approximately 20 units however, the breakfast insulin-to-carbohydrate ratio might be breakfast 1:8 grams, lunch 1:15 grams and dinner 1:12 grams.
The insulin to carbohydrate ratio may vary during the day.
How Many Units Of Insulin Do I Need For 400 Blood Sugar
In a healthy individual, one unit of insulin should cause their blood sugar level to drop 30-50 mg/dL, However, the number of units of insulin needed for people with diabetes depends on factors such as:
- Type of insulin
- Site of injection
- Use of oral diabetes medications
- Comorbid conditions such as kidney failure, untreated hypothyroidism, or which temporarily increase insulin resistance
- Time since your last carb-rich meal
Theoretically, to reduce 400 mg/dL blood sugar to about 100 mg/dL, you would need at least 10 units of insulin. However, depending on your weight and other factors, a higher dose of insulin is almost always required.
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How To Naturally Lower Hemoglobin A1c
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How To Control Type 2 Diabetes
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First Some Basic Things To Know About Insulin:
- Approximately 40-50% of the total daily insulin dose is to replace insulin overnight, when you are fasting and between meals. This is called background or basal insulin replacement. The basal or background insulin dose usually is constant from day to day.
- The other 50-60% of the total daily insulin dose is for carbohydrate coverage and high blood sugar correction. This is called the bolus insulin replacement.
Bolus Carbohydrate coverage
The bolus dose for food coverage is prescribed as an insulin to carbohydrate ratio.The insulin to carbohydrate ratio represents how many grams of carbohydrate are covered or disposed of by 1 unit of insulin.
Generally, one unit of rapid-acting insulin will dispose of 12-15 grams of carbohydrate. This range can vary from 6-30 grams or more of carbohydrate depending on an individuals sensitivity to insulin. Insulin sensitivity can vary according to the time of day, from person to person, and is affected by physical activity and stress.
Bolus High blood sugar correction
The bolus dose for high blood sugar correction is defined as how much one unit of rapid-acting insulin will drop the blood sugar.
Generally, to correct a high blood sugar, one unit of insulin is needed to drop the blood glucose by 50 mg/dl. This drop in blood sugar can range from 30-100 mg/dl or more, depending on individual insulin sensitivities, and other circumstances.
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Insulin Amounts Made Easy
Most people with diabetes will probably say that calculating your insulin is no walk in the park so much so that we have a blog post dedicated to 11 things that are as hard as calculating your insulin dosage.
With more people using insulin nowadays, its important to get help with calculating that important but tricky insulin dosage.
We hope that these formulas will have given you a general idea of how insulin is calculated, and help you in the process of determining your own dosage. We also hope that Hedia will turn the bore of those calculations into more free time for you!
Got a question about Hedia? Contact us at or with our phone number +45 7174 1663.
How Much Insulin Should I Take If My Blood Sugar Is 200
This entails injecting additional rapid-acting insulin before a meal to compensate for elevated blood glucose levels. For a premeal blood glucose level above 150 mg/dl, an usual correction dose is 2 additional units of insulin more will be required if the level is above 200. Rapid-acting insulin typically takes 30 minutes to take effect. Therefore, you would need to inject before eating breakfast and lunch, respectively.
If your premeal blood glucose level is 100-149 mg/dL, one unit of insulin will be enough. If it’s less than 100 mg/dL but more than 50 mg/dL, then two units are needed. If your level is below 50 mg/dL, you will need to inject three units of insulin.
The correction doses mentioned here are only guidelines. You must determine how much insulin to use by considering your diet, activity level, and other factors that can affect your blood glucose levels. Remember that too much insulin can be as harmful as not enough insulin. Overly aggressive treatment strategies may lead to hypoglycemia or hyperglycemia .
It is important to note that rapid-acting insulin taken at one meal will not stay in your body for more than about six hours so you will need to repeat the injection process at another meal within that time frame.
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How Do I Calculate How Much Insulin To Take
In people who do not have diabetes, their bodies release insulin in response to the foods they eat. This is because many foods contain carbohydrates. Some examples include bread, sweets, fruits, and even vegetables.
Your body breaks carbohydrates down into smaller building blocks, like glucose. You need insulin to use this glucose for energy. If your body cannot make or use insulin effectively, youll need to inject it to process your food for energy.
Calculating how much insulin to take is usually based on two considerations:
- Basal insulin dose. A basal insulin dose is an amount that you give yourself daily regardless of the foods you eat.
- Bolus insulin dose. A bolus insulin dose helps correct or anticipate the carbohydrates you eat throughout the day. You will usually correct this with a bolus dose of rapid-acting insulin.
Anticipating a bolus dose is where insulin administration can get tricky. When you give yourself insulin, you are estimating how many units of insulin it will take to process the carbohydrates you eat.
The University of California, San Francisco states that, as a general rule, 1 unit of insulin will process anywhere from 12 to 15 grams of carbohydrates and lower your blood sugar by about 50 milligrams per deciliter .
Since the human body is so complex, not all people will process insulin the same way. Factors like time of day, stress levels, and physical activity can make these numbers more difficult to predict.
How Can Eating Lower The Blood Sugar Of A Type 2 Diabetes
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The High Blood Sugar Correction Factor:
Correction Factor = 1800 ÷Total Daily Insulin Dose = 1 unit of insulin will reduce the blood sugar so many mg/dl
This can be calculated using the Rule of 1800.
= 1800 ÷ TDI = 1 unit insulin will drop reduce the blood sugar level by 45 mg/dl
While the calculation is 1 unit will drop the blood sugar 45 mg/dl, to make it easier most people will round up or round down the number so the suggested correction factor may be 1 unit of rapid acting insulin will drop the blood sugar 40-50 mg/dl.
Please keep in mind, the estimated insulin regimen is an initial best guess and the dose may need to be modified to keep your blood sugar on target.
Also, there are many variations of insulin therapy. You will need to work out your specific insulin requirements and dose regimen with your medical provider and diabetes team.
Putting It All Together
Now that you know the how and why behind insulin dosing, lets consider how you may calculate your insulin needs.
Youll usually give yourself an insulin dose around your meals since thats when you take in carbohydrates. You also will typically check your blood sugar to see if youre meeting your premeal target dose.
To calculate your insulin needs:
You may find that if you generally eat about the same amount of carbohydrates each day, you may be able to consistently inject the same amounts of insulin outside of special occasions. It takes time to find out how your body best responds to insulin.
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