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Sliding Scale Insulin Therapy

by Owen Clarke 29 Apr 2022

Diabetes mellitus is a condition that requires regular insulin doses not to affect one’s blood glucose level negatively or develop into more severe health conditions. Depending on the diabetes type, insulin either doesn’t work correctly, or the body is simply not able to produce enough of it to preserve one’s well-being. The number of insulin units can only be calculated by a doctor; moreover, it can be done only after a careful examination and all required medical tests. However, there is one more way to find out how much insulin is needed to get blood glucose levels back to normal – by using sliding scale insulin therapy.

Nevertheless, we have to warn you that using only the sliding scale method is unsafe and shouldn’t be used without a doctor’s supervision. Otherwise, it can increase the risk of extremely low or high blood sugar and cause severe health complications in people. But it’s always better to be aware of the working principle of certain things before trying them, so, without further ado, let’s enrich our knowledge on this topic!

If you have a prescription for a certain brand, you should discuss a sliding scale with a doctor (for example, Novolog sliding scale or Humalog sliding scale).

Working Principle of the Insulin Sliding Scale Chart

A sliding scale insulin (SSI) therapy is a special table created with a doctor based on a patient’s personal insulin needs, daily activity, eating habits, and other essential factors. The carb intake is pretty important as well because the numbers in the chart are calculated based on two main factors:

  • Pre-meal blood sugar levels. The numbers are typically placed on the left, from low to high. The higher glucose in the blood is shown, the more insulin should be taken by an individual;
  • MealtimeIt is usually placed at the chart’s top row and is calculated for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

The insulin dosage can change throughout the day, and a medical professional understands that perfectly, as well as the fact that different amounts of the remedy may be required based on what a person eats. That’s why not only individual charts but a special diet should be planned together with a doctor to create an individual plan suitable for a patient’s needs.

G(mg)/dlB) Insulin sensitive Usual Insulin resistant
100-140 0 0 0
>141-180 2 4 6
181-220 4 6 8
221-260 6 8 10
261-300 8 10 12
301-350 10 12 14
351-400 12 14 16
>400 14 16 18

Am I Reading the Chart Correctly?

Calculating the right amount of basal insulin by using charts can be tricky for people who have never worked with this instrument. However, it is pretty easy and can be done in a few simple steps:

  1. Test a blood sugar level;
  2. Find the matching number on the left side of the chart;
  3. Look at the horizontal value’s row to get to the current meal;
  4. Take the dosage indicated in the place where to values meet.

Sugar levels should be tested before mealtime and calculated based on the type of insulin prescribed for one’s needs. For example, long-acting insulin and rapid-acting insulin have different durability and require time to reach their peak, so blood sugar levels should be tested based on this factor. We would recommend discussing all the peculiarities with a doctor based on the insulin brand, type of diabetes, and a patient’s personal needs to create the most suitable treatment plan for an individual.

Sliding Scale Insulin Therapy Nuances

The one thing people find the most comfortable in the sliding scale insulin therapy is that it doesn’t require constant remedy recalculations before taking insulin. It’s more comfortable for patients to follow a predetermined treatment plan and take fixed-dose insulin than figure out the needed amount of the drug before every intake.

However, there is one disadvantage many people are not happy about when it comes to the sliding scale, and that’s the inflexibility of the routine that should be followed to keep the numbers in the table working for you. It is vital to pay attention to these aspects:

  • Carbohydrates intake. The exact number of carbs should be consumed each meal because, based on that, a single carb calculation depends. So, the number of carbs cannot be changed from day to day;
  • Hours of the meal intake. A person should eat around the same hours each day in order not to affect the level of the insulin sensitivity;
  • Exercise program. The amount of insulin can vary depending on one’s lifestyle, so if there are any serious changes in one’s sports routine, a doctor should be informed about that to recalculate the insulin dose.

Some specialists are really worried that the insulin sliding scale method can be harmful to a person and can cause high blood sugar level episodes (also known as hyperglycemia). So, the treatment option should be considered, discussed, and carefully planned after conducting all medical examinations and tests.

The Bottom Line

Sliding scale insulin therapy is a pretty controversial method of insulin dose calculation for patients with diabetes mellitus of any type. Some specialists say it is practical and beneficial; others don’t recommend this method for people with certain health peculiarities. One thing is perfectly clear here – it is crucial to consult with a specialist to make sure this option is acceptable for you. Also, do not forget that with Insulin.Store you can buy insulin online for the lowest price in the US. That’s it for today. Thank you for reading, and stay tuned to learn more about diabetes mellitus together with our team of professionals!

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