Basal Insulin || Understanding Diabetes

Every diabetic is different.
Their body metabolism is different, they have different blood sugar response and even their medication dosages are different.

I am 28 and got diagnosed with diabetes at 27.
My family members have limited understanding of this problem.
Sometimes they ask questions which gets very difficult for me to answer.

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One day my grandmother asked me how my diabetic neighbor control his blood sugar simply by taking oral medications and not taking insulin (like me)
At this point, I was wondering how to explain the metabolism of diabetes to my 80-year-old grandmother.

The point is, that every diabetic is different and one should strive to understand his body as much as possible.

In this article, we will try to understand one form of insulin which insulin-dependent diabetics throughout the world tend to inject.

There are different types of insulin available in the market.
Each type has different functionality and it is very important for diabetics to understand it for better management of this problem.

Here we will try to understand insulin named Basal Insulin.

So what is Basal Insulin?

Basal is a long-acting insulin.
This insulin is not for the food we eat, but to control the blood sugar throughout the day.

Let me explain
Sometimes you would have found your blood sugar high in the morning when you wakeup.
Even you have not eaten anything in the dinner, still your blood sugar rise in the morning.

Now why this blood sugar spiked, even if you didn’t eat anything?
This is because at various time of the day, our liver dump glucose in the body which spike the blood sugar of diabetics.

So, how to control this blood sugar spike?
It is the type of spike, which you don’t have any control? You have no control over timing neither the amount of spike.

This type of spike is controlled by taking Basal Insulin.
Basal is a type of insulin which remain active for longer duration and control the blood sugar spike caused by the liver dump.

With Basal insulin, you don’t have to worry about the peak insulin time (in which you may get into Hypo). This insulin’s working is spread throughout the day.

Where to inject insulin?
Most of the people including myself inject insulin around the belly. While you can also inject in your thigh or even butt.

Don’t inject the insulin at the same place.
Injecting at the same site can lead to accumulation of fats in the area, which may decrease the absorption of insulin in the body.

When to take Basal Insulin?
The best time to take this long-acting insulin is at night before sleep (around 10 PM) to cover the blood sugar spike caused by glucose dumping by the liver.

However, there are people who take the second dose of  basal insulin before breakfast

Types of Basal Insulin 
There are different types of Basal insulin in the market with different brand names and even different working specifications.
In this section, we will try to categorize different form of Basal insulin available

1. Intermediate Acting Insulin
It comes with brand versions of Novolin and Humulin.
It’s most active in 4-8 hours and present in the bloodstream for 16 hours

2. Long Acting
Comes with the name of detemir (Levemir) and glargine (Lantus)
Gets active in 90 minutes to 4 hours and remains in bloodstream for 24 hours

3. Ultralong acting
Comes with the brand name of Tresiba
Start working within 30 minutes and remain in bloodstream for 42 hours

Contrary to the above-mentioned duration of 24 hours specified by the company, these long-acting insulin gets expired very early (even within 8 hours of injection)

There is one rule that you need to understand regarding long-acting insulin, the more dose you take the more likely that the insulin will stay longer in your body.
Which means, if you are Type 1 diabetic myself and follow low carb diet, then there is a chance that you may take a small dose of insulin at night.
But as the dose is small, the insulin will get expired soon at the mid of the night and this result blood sugar spike at the midnight; hence I will wake up with high blood sugars.

One solution to this problem is to inject higher dose of long-acting insulin.
This way the insulin will stay in the body throughout the night and will help control the liver dump.
But the problem with this approach is that larger dose of insulin increases your chances of getting into Hypoglycemia condition at the midnight which can be life-threatening.

So what to do?
There is one solution to this problem.
Take a small dose of insulin at night, now as a smaller dose of insulin gets absorbed faster, take another dose as soon as you wake up.

Now after getting some basic knowledge of basal insulin, its time for you to check your blood sugar as frequently as possible to understand how your body is responding to the food and the insulin dose you incorporated.

Try to eat foods that are low in carbs, this will not only reduce your insulin dosage but will also help control your blood sugar easily.

If you have liked the article, share it among the diabetic community so that they can also get some understanding about their disease.

Further Read
Why Should Diabetics wear Bracelets?
Can diabetics eat papaya?
Can diabetics eat watermelon?

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