Basal Rates with Insulin Pumps
Basal rates are the rate where your insulin pump will give you background doses of insulin.
These increments of insulin doses take place continually over a 24-hour period day in and day out. This basal rate is responsible for about 50 percent or thereabouts of your daily insulin requirement. Sometimes though, your needs may change. The changes can be within your eating habits that may be different, or activity which may be more or less than usual.
Insulin pumps come the closest to a regular normal pancreas secreting insulin for you. This great device is always there so that you are getting some insulin all the time as needed. As a result, this helps a diabetic to get the needed energy required for brain function, and other functions needed for living daily.
A bolus is what pump users can give themselves before eating a meal containing carbohydrates. The more advanced carbohydrate counting skills you have, the better to figure out what type of bolus is needed then. The combination you are getting of basal insulin and fast acting insulin work well together to control blood sugar for many people this way. Lantus is an excellent basal insulin used that is always there in your body, and will cover all the time 24 hours long.
You can program your insulin pump if you need a higher dose of basal insulin on a daily basis. During sleep time overnight for example, you may have rises in your blood sugar which you can correct by adding a higher nighttime dosage. A lot of times, hormones that I have discussed before on this site, such as counterregulatory hormones, and also cortisol which is epinephrine, will raise havoc with overnight sugars. Then in the morning, you experience what is referred to as the dawn phenomenon, which is a high fasting blood glucose level.
It is typical to need up to 4 different rates during a 24 hour period. A basal rate pattern is referred to as a 24-hour sequence or basal profile.
The insulin pump also gives you the ability to set a temporary basal insulin rate. You can use it anytime during exercising, or when eating something extra in carbohydrates. Your insulin pump will later return to your original pattern after the set period of time you put on it for the changes.
To determine your basal rate needed, you and your doctor will work together to figure out what that is based upon your blood sugar monitoring results. Doing this should help you achieve good diabetes control.