Back to Ask the Diabetes Team Ask the Diabetes Team

From Ridgecrest, California, USA:

In a previous question from someone else, a physician commented that he was not a big fan of using a sliding scale. Can he elaborate?


In my view, sliding scales often have a place in diabetes management, but can be abused. Indeed, we use a variation of "sliding scales" when we give "correction boluses" to folks on insulin pumps. A sliding scale is used to bring down that aberrant high glucose reading.

However, what happens too often, especially in children with split doses of NPH and Regular and/or Humalog, is that care givers, trainers, and sometimes patients themselves will be giving numerous "extra" shots with their sliding scale to bring down a multitude of higher readings. If someone is giving extra shots very often, this indicates to me that the patient's usual doses of insulin are inadequate. So instead of properly changing the baseline doses, they give these "chasing" insulin dosages. If one does not take into account the NPH given earlier in the day, for example, then the "extra" Regular given at lunch with the sliding scale can be "kicking in" during the soccer game, and then the patient has a severe low, which they treat with (often too much) glucose, causing the sugars to see-saw back up, which is treated with another shot from the sliding scale. And so on and so on. So chasing of glucose values can result in sporadic numbers, frustrating to everyone.

In addition, people don't usually keep track of their sliding scale and note how often they give it or how much extra insulin they take. So, as a health care giver, I try to avoid the whole mess so as to try to prevent the higher sugars to begin with. So, sliding scales have a place, but not as a routine in my management.


Original posting 19 Nov 2001
Posted to Insulin


  Back to Ask the Diabetes Team Return to the Top of This Page

Last Updated: Tuesday April 06, 2010 15:09:28
This Internet site provides information of a general nature and is designed for educational purposes only. If you have any concerns about your own health or the health of your child, you should always consult with a physician or other health care professional.

This site is published by T-1 Today, Inc. (d/b/a Children with Diabetes), a 501c3 not-for-profit organization, which is responsible for its contents. Our mission is to provide education and support to families living with type 1 diabetes.
By using this site, you agree to our Terms of Use, Legal Notice, and Privacy Policy.
© Children with Diabetes, Inc. 1995-2018. Comments and Feedback.