Sensitivity factor??

By Anonymous Latest Reply 2013-03-23 15:44:12 -0500
Started 2013-03-21 20:34:46 -0500

Hey everyone! I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes 4 months ago at the age of 26, 5'3, 128 lbs and am now on the omnipod. I feel so overwhelmed and recently saw the first signs of coming out of my "honeymoon". My doctor decreased my sensitivity factor from 60 to 50. Why did this help bring my numbers down back to normal? Could I bring this number down a little more therefore decreasing my hourly basal dose? I feel like I'm slowly putting on weight and would really like to limit my basal as much as possible. What do yall do?? Any help is greatly appreciated. Thanks so much.

6 replies

HRG617 2013-03-23 12:47:44 -0500 Report

My sensitivity factor was 60 then they changed it to 50 because I am coming out of my honeymoon and it helped so much but I didn't need to increase my insulin needs at all. I still use about 9 units of insulin (novolog) total daily. So my question was if I changed it to 40, therefore making me a little more sensitive, could I essentially decrease my insulin from 9 units a day to maybe 7 but still being healthy and staying in range?. I eat really well, all veggies and meat but I do have my cheat moments and when I cheat, it seems I have gained 5 pounds. I will certainly get that book. Thank u. What is your basal? Are u on a pump ?

Type1Lou 2013-03-23 15:44:12 -0500 Report

Changing the "sensitivity factor" setting in your pump will not make you more sensitive to insulin. Your pump setting for sensitivity is based on your own metabolism and how your body reacts to insulin. You should be working with your doctor to determine what the correct sensitivity setting is for you. Per Gary Scheiner in his book "Think Like a Pancreas", "your sensitivity factor is how much each unit of insulin lowers your blood sugar. Each person's sensitivity to insulin is unique." He has a neat chart in his book to illustrate the concept.

I've edited my post to add more from Gary Scheiner. He states "Sensitivity factors may also change over time. With weight gain, most people lose some sensitivity to insulin, and the sensitivity factor tends to decrease. Changes in physical activities can also affect insulin sensitivity. Prolonged periods of inactivity…may lower insulin sensitivity and require a reduction in the sensitivity factor. Long-term increases in activity can produce the opposite effect. " I interpret this to mean that if you want to increase your insulin sensitivity, consider increasing your activity level, and reaching your target weight. Hope this helps some.

I started using a Medtronic Minimed Paradigm pump in August 2011 after years of MDI. My basal ranges from .10 units per hour to .55 units per hour depending on the time of day. My carb to insulin ratio runs from 25 grams of carb per unit of insulin to 33 grams of carb per unit of insulin depending upon the time of day.

Type1Lou 2013-03-23 11:05:11 -0500 Report

The 120 sensitivity means that I am highly sensitive to insulin. I am averaging about 17 units of Novolog per day in my pump. Insulin is not what causes weight gain. The calories and carbs you consume are directly responsible for weight gain. If you are consuming more carbs than your body needs to maintain a desirable body weight and to function, and you are taking insulin based on that carb consumption to keep your BG's in an acceptable range, it will lead to weight gain. The insulin you take enables you to use the food that you eat. If you reduce the insulin but still eat the same stuff, your BG's will be higher and put you at risk for serious complications and/or DKA, Diabetic Ketoacidosis.

How many carbs are you currently consuming per day? That is a good starting point for you to determine what you need to do. Back in the early 2000's, I read Dr Richard Bernstein's book "Diabetes Solution" and it opened up my eyes to the role carbs play in diabetes. After reading his book, I became serious about reducing my carbs…it's hard but it works. More exercise will enable you to eat more carbs, since exercise uses the energy derived from food, provided the insulin is sufficient to let it enter your cells. It's all a balancing act but it can be done! (Personally, I need to exercise more regularly…always room to improve!)

HRG617 2013-03-22 19:30:36 -0500 Report

Thank you so much for your story. It truly helps. 120? Does that mean you are extra sensitive to insulin? I am confused about the range of correction factor / sensitivity factor ( are these the same thing?) I am really trying to decrease as much as possible my insulin needs. Is it possible to do this by lowering my sensitivity number?

RebC 2013-03-22 22:48:05 -0500 Report

Lowering your sensitivity factor means that you will be giving more insulin to stay in a normal range, so that won't decrease your insulin needs, it will increase it. To my knowledge, sensitivity factor and correction factor are the same thing.

I know it is hard to feel like you are putting on weight, but decreasing your basal is not a healthy way to lose that weight. I used to look at my little sister who has had T1 for 17 years, since she was 5, and was always so thin, and I wished I was as skinny as her. But now that I have been diagnosed as well, I understand why, and I wouldn't ever wish for that now. Her A1C was always above 12, and now that she wants to have children and is working on bringing it down she IS putting on a little weight, but it makes me so happy to see her looking healthy.

So I guess my point is, sure, you will lose the weight by reducing your insulin, but you will lose years of your life. Sorry. My rant is over. :)

Type1Lou 2013-03-22 18:38:06 -0500 Report

I was diagnosed Type 1 at age 27 after losing 10 lbs in 2 weeks, bringing my weight down to 110 lbs on my 5'3" frame…not much different from what you are going through now, except that it happened to me back in 1976. I only started on an insulin pump in 2011 after having used MDI (Multiple Daily Injections) of Lantus and Novolog for years. We each have our own specific insulin sensitivity factor which is programmed into our pumps under the care of our doctors. My sensitivity factor is 120. My last A1c was 6.8. It took months to get my pump properly programmed and it is still getting "tweaked". At 64, my body is changing which means that what might have worked before may now need adjusting. Over the last 10 years, I've been able to maintain my weight right around 120 following a low-carb diet. I allow myself a total of 120 grams of carb daily: 30 at breakfast, 45 each at lunch and dinner. (120 seems to be my magic number…insulin sensitivity, weight and daily carb allowance…but I'm not saying one has anything to do with the other.)

After only 4 months, I would be surprised if you didn't need more adjustments. This is not a "One Size Fits All" condition. Don't get discouraged, work with your health team, learn as much as you can about diabetes and about how it affects you specifically. As chronic diseases go, it is one of the more manageable and with the right help and by making the right decisions, we can assure ourselves of a good quality of life. Wishing you well!