December 25, 2001
Question from Lyndhurst, New Jersey, USA:
I just read a previous question about a doctor who told a parent her son was taking too much insulin and it would kill him. I never heard of such a thing. I though everyone’s insulin needs were different and if a person needs more insulin than it should be taken. Isn’t our main concern for our children to keep blood sugars controlled no matter how much insulin is required?
My son’s insulin nearly matches her son’s, his A1cs are around 7.2-7.5%, and never for one minute did I ever think the amount of insulin he was injecting could cause his harm. Should a person only take up to a certain amount?
You are correct. The amount of insulin is very individualized but there are some general rules in terms of units of insulin per kilogram of weight per day. The mail goal is control the blood glucose levels without excessive or severe episodes of hypoglycemia and get the hemoglobin A1c into the below 7% range if possible. Huge amount of extra insulin, if they produce severe episodes of hypoglycemia or hypoglycemic convulsion may produce death, but higher than needed doses usually are associated with hypoglycemia, overeating, and weight gain.