The rate at which an insulin pump instills little, “background” dosages of short-acting insulin. Over a 24-hour duration, the basal circulation of insulin accounts for about 50% of a person’s overall daily insulin requirement. However, this might differ depending upon general caloric consumption or activity level.
Lots of people use an insulin pump because it closely mimics what a healthy pancreas does: It supplies a steady circulation of insulin all the time to help the body use the glucose that is always in the blood stream, offering energy for thinking, breathing, and other automatic functions. In addition, a pump allows users to offer themselves bigger insulin dosages (“boluses”) at mealtimes to cover the amount of carbohydrate ingested. This mix of basal and bolus dosages helps keep blood glucose levels near normal at all times, which in the long run can help avoid diabetic complications. (For people who inject insulin, the intermediate- or long-acting insulin works as the basal insulin, and short- or rapid-acting insulin injections are used to cover meals. The long-acting insulin analog glargine [trademark name Lantus] provides “peakless” basal coverage for up to 24 hours.)
Pump users can program the pump to provide higher or lower basal dosages at particular times of day to satisfy the body’s changing insulin requirements. For example, the nighttime release of counterregulatory hormones (such as development hormonal agent, epinephrine, and cortisol) can cause a rise in blood sugar in the morning called the dawn phenomenon. For this reason, pump users typically need to program a greater basal rate in the early morning. Usually, just 2 — 4 different rates are required during a 24-hour duration. One 24-hour series of basal rates is called a basal circulation pattern, or basal profile.
Also read: How to Choose The Best Insulin Pump?
Pump users might likewise need to program various basal profiles for specific days. For instance, someone who is a sedentary desk jockey during the work week however is active on weekends might have to program two different basal rate profiles — one for weekdays and another for weekends, when the additional activity helps him burn glucose better throughout the day. People who work different shifts might have to program different basal profiles depending upon which shift they’re dealing with a given day. Some women might need a different basal profile for the days prior to menstruation, when blood glucose levels typically run greater than usual.
In addition, pump users can set temporary basal rates, which they trigger during workout, for example; after the set period of time, the pump instantly returns to the original basal profile.
When first beginning insulin pump therapy, your health-care supplier will help you determine your preliminary basal rate and fine-tune your basal profiles through frequent blood glucose self-monitoring. Frequent low blood sugar could indicate that the basal rate on the pump is expensive; regular highs might suggest that the basal rate needs to be increased.