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March 8, 2004

Blood Tests and Insulin Injections, Insulin

Question from Doniphan, Nebraska, USA:

Our granddaughter lives 800 miles away. I was speaking with my daughter-in-law tonight on the phone tonight and was alarmed when she said that our granddaughter was now on five to six shots daily instead of the two she had been receiving. She thought it had something to do with her wanting to have another snack. They are having problems with her numbers being too high or too low.

Answer:

The number of injections your granddaughter is taking does not mean her diabetes is worse or is unmanageable. Multiple dose insulin programs are becoming more common. Diabetes specialists are learning better ways to mimic what the pancreas normally does. Insulin programs that behave more physiologically will include a long acting insulin and several rapid acting insulin injections each day. The long acting insulin is called a basal insulin. The rapid acting insulin doses are called boluses. Boluses are typically given before meals and sometimes even before snacks. That is how the pancreas normally delivers insulin, in small amounts all day and bursts or boluses of insulin before meals. While these type of programs mean more injections, they can provide better diabetes blood sugar control in the long run.

BS