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February 12, 2000

Insulin, Meal Planning, Food and Diet

Question from Wellesley, Massachusetts, USA:

Is there a way to calculate how many grams of carbohydrate one unit of insulin will cover and how many points one unit of insulin will reduce blood sugar? Our nine year old daughter weighs 75 pounds and takes two insulin injections a day: 2 Humalog, 2 Regular, 10 NPH in the morning, 1.5 Humalog, 1.5 Regular, 3 NPH before dinner (we use a sliding scale for the H and R so these amounts vary). Also, to complete the calculations, is there a way of calculating how much 15 grams of carbohydrate is likely to raise blood sugar, other things equal? I realize that we will never be able to predict how things will actually work out since there are many other variables in play, but it would be helpful to have a rule of thumb to work with as we try to match food and insulin to each other and to our daughter's activity level.

Answer:

The amount of food to raise the blood sugar can be clouded by many things — such as is the blood sugar on the way up or down when you check it. Just treating the best way you know how and testing are your best tools.

There is a great book called Stop the Rollercoaster that is available in many bookstores that should help you with these issues.

JM