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From Two Rivers, Wisconsin, USA:

I'm not sure which type of diabetes my mom has. I know part of her pancreas was removed many years ago. Anyway, her diabetes has gotten worse. She needs to carry a special injection, I think, to take immediately if her blood sugar drops below 50 mg/dl [2.8 mmol/L]. She was also told to call her doctor immediately if it drops this low.

She is not insured and cannot afford a consult with a dietitian at this time. She is hoping to save her money to see a specialist for her macular degeneration and cataracts.

Mom was told by her doctor to use the following formula in figuring out how much insulin to take. She doesn't really understand it and asked if I could help. 0.75 g carbohydrates = 1.5 units insulin

Could you please give me some examples of this formula in use? How does one use a nutrition label? She looked at a carton of orange juice, but the carbohydrates weren't broken down to grams. We were on the phone so I didn't see the label.

Also, what do you think about the blood sugar dropping information? Is this common or how bad does it show her diabetes has become?


One carbohydrate serving is 15 grams. This would be equivalent to one fruit or one starch under the older exchange system. What the equation is saying is that for every 75 grams of carbohydrate, she takes 1.5 units of her rapid-acting insulin. However, she may want to talk with her physician. If she can't understand the use of the formula, there isn't much reason to use it.

It is common information that four to six ounces of orange juice is 15 grams of carbohydrate. This is what is contained in a standard juice glass. It sounds like she needs additional education to help with her diabetes. Please look into seeing if a certified diabetes education group is located near your mother's home. This would be of great benefit to her. There are a number of these throughout the country. You can call your local hospital to find out.

Hypoglycemia unawareness is a terrible problem. It requires as much effort to avoid lows as it does to avoid highs.


Original posting 30 Dec 2004
Posted to Meal Planning, Food and Diet and Insulin


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Last Updated: Tuesday April 06, 2010 15:10:00
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