Can someone share how to calculate units of insulin?

By hotwhllvr79 Latest Reply 2012-06-28 15:54:11 -0500
Started 2012-06-25 14:21:00 -0500

I have been diabetic for 31 years, and for the last 18 have decided on my own what to give myself. I know there has to be some sort of calculation for it. When I used to be on the pump, part of it went by weight. Is it the same for regular shots? I take R and N in the morning, and R again at dinner. If anyone knows of a calculation, that would be great!

12 replies

MAYS 2012-06-26 07:12:09 -0500 Report

Your doctor (s) should be able to answer your question much better than I can, but these links may be of some help also:

This article is very interesting, if not somewhat technical on the subject:

If you are uncertain about this, please consult a medical professional concerning you diabetes care.


red flower lady
red flower lady 2012-06-25 22:32:31 -0500 Report

This is a question for your dr as he knows your history. I see you no longer use a pump, any particular reason why? I would ask my dr for a list that gives the bg range with the corresponding insulin injection for it. I have them, but based on the insulins I'm using at the time. I don't use what you do. It also depends on how you react to the insulin. If your numbers are high, then you may need to change type insulin you are using. You need to be counting your carbs as well as practice portion control and this will help your bg numbers. You can call the drs and ask his nurse if you don't want to go in, she can email it to you.

Good luck

hotwhllvr79 2012-06-26 06:56:25 -0500 Report

I don't have a doctor, that's why I am trying to find out if there's a calculation. I don't wear the pump because I no longer have medicaid and can't afford to. I have no insurance and am unemployed. I've been diabetic since the age of two and know everything there is to know about what I NEED to do. Instead of trying to take the same amount of insulin all the time, I wanted to know if there was an actual calculation.

red flower lady
red flower lady 2012-06-26 18:20:15 -0500 Report

Gotcha, but how are you getting your insulin? Ask the person you get the insulin from. You can ask the pharmacist how much to take and how it works with carbs, etc. Did you know that a pharmacist can actually write you a prescription for it, I found this out by my dr when I broke the bottle after hours and didn't have a refill. The head pharmacist also informed me of it and asked why the pharmacist on duty didn't do so. My daughter knew the head pharmacist and called him and he took care of it for me.

But, back to your question. This is hard to answer as the sliding scale for me may not be right for you and therefore could cause you problems that anyone I could get into trouble for by giving it to you, I'm not a dr. You say you know everything there is to know about it, have you never been given bg range and the amount of insulin to take with it in all the 31 yrs? You also used the pump, so how did you figure that out? Not trying to be mean, just confused. If you type your question into the computer all kinds of info comes up and then it would be up to you to decide to tyr it or not. Also, Mays usually finds the best site for info, so check out his suggestions:)

hotwhllvr79 2012-06-27 06:58:46 -0500 Report

I'm not in need of sliding scale information, or carb information, unless I can calculate insulin based on what I'm eating, which will require a whole new way of living for me. I'm trying to take baby steps to take better care of myself. I get my stuff from Walmart. The last time I was shown how to calculate pump insulin was in 2001, so I don't quite remember. I will look at Mays' info today.

red flower lady
red flower lady 2012-06-27 11:05:55 -0500 Report

I get my stuff from there as well and the pharmacist is very helpful. I have to use the sliding scale of where my bg was currently at if not eating, if eating then I still needed the base info and then add more according to the amount of carbs I was going to be eating. So, you will still need carb info when calculating how much insulin to take. You can't just say I'm going to eat, how much do I take as you will not be eating the same thing in the same amounts daily. Did any dr ever tell you how much insulin to take per carb? Like, for every 2 carbs take 1/2 unit insulin.

hotwhllvr79 2012-06-27 14:03:59 -0500 Report

Maybe at one point I was told something, but I haven't been to see a doctor in over 4 years. I take pretty much the same amount of insulin every day, but I go up or down when needed. Base information would be helpful, and so would carb, for future reference, I guess!

red flower lady
red flower lady 2012-06-28 15:54:11 -0500 Report

I'm sorry to hear you haven't seen a dr in 4yrs, that is not good, but I understand finances and no insurance can be an issue. Call the health dept in your area and ask the for the dr/clinic they refer to for a sliding fee scale. This goes by how much you alone make even if married. You may not have to pay anything for the dr visits. Call them first to see what info they require to fill out the form and what day & time they do it. Lab fees may be free as well and if not it's like .50 cents and up a test and they will tell you before doing them. You can take the prescription to the health dept or the pharmacy they tell you and get insulin cheap $10.00 and down or free. Then you can ask your question. Health dept may also refer you to a class so ask them.

I checked out Mays links and as usual some good info that can probably help you now. Such a sweetheart to always come up with them, as well as a few others here that do so as well and saves us from finding them. I'm terrible posting links as they never turn out right:( I really hope all this info helps you get to a dr and get bg under better control. Good luck.

Harlen 2012-06-25 19:09:34 -0500 Report

if you wish to work it out you will need to keep track of what and how much you eat ,what you BS was befor and two Hr after as well as how much insulin you gave till you can get you #s good with that dose
It will change as your diet changes some carbs send me a lot higher then other carbs .Keep a log and rite every thing down ,yes it is a pain in the butt but it works .
best wishes

forsakes alive
forsakes alive 2012-06-25 19:04:35 -0500 Report

the only thoughts I have arethis, why are you still using the N/R insulin? I was on those 2 types for abit longer than you've been. When I reached my 35 yr. mark I started to have the resistance happen, I went to a Doc,who suggested I go on this new type called levimir and the other is humalog: both in the pen style, they have been doing great for me,though the only thing that really gets me is that they are synthetic. The dosages I am taking are related to the food intake,not by personal weight.

Type1Lou 2012-06-25 14:34:50 -0500 Report

Your doctor should be able to help you determine the correct carb to insulin ratio for your metabolism. Figuring out the correct dosage for shots is essentially what the pump does for your bolus, meal-time shots. Everyone of us may have a different ratio. My mealtime boluses are calculated using a 1 unit of insulin to 24 grams of carb. If my meal consists of 50 carbs, I would need 2 units of rapid acting insulin (I use Novolog) to cover that meal. But that might be too low or too high for you. This is really where you need input from your diabetes team. Bottom line, you need to count the carbs for what you are eating and bolus appropriately using the correct ratio for YOUR metabolism.

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