Back to Ask the Diabetes Team Ask the Diabetes Team

From Pennsylvania, USA:

What is an appropriate sliding scale ratio for a 13 year old athletic child? I was informed that one unit of Humalog will bring the blood sugar down 50 mg/dl [2.8 mmol/L] and that 1 unit of insulin will cover about 10-15 grams. Does this sound accurate?


I am not a big fan of "sliding scales" as they often lead to "chasing of blood sugars": chase it down, goes too far, give food, goes too high, give insulin, chase it down, etc. Extra insulin in this way often is not accounting for the effects of the NPH given earlier. Blood sugars can really rollercoaster around this way.

For a starting point, I'd consider 1 unit of Humalog insulin to bring down the glucose by 50 mg/dl [2.8 mmol/L], but some people require a bit more or some less. Puberty and its hormones are antagonistic to insulin thus requiring more insulin. Perhaps 1 unit of Humalog may only bring your son down 25 mg/dl [1.4mmol/L]. Of course, activity enhances the effect of insulin.

For people on basal/bolus insulin and who give insulin based on food intake, a good starting point is 1 unit for every 15 grams of carbohydrates consumed. Some people require more or less, or different ratios for different meals or different types of meals. The carbs in 15 grams of orange juice are absorbed differently than the 15 grams carbs in a small slice of pizza, for example. Often people require more insulin at breakfast, relative to other meals.


Original posting 14 Oct 2003
Posted to Insulin


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

Last Updated: Tuesday April 06, 2010 15:09:52
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.