Instructables

Diabetics: How to Calculate High Blood Glucose Correction Using the Rule of 1800

Picture of Diabetics: How to Calculate High Blood Glucose Correction Using the Rule of 1800
The mantra of a diabetic is control.

Having blood sugars out of control leads to all sorts of bad things. Like (for the guys) impotence. You want normal blood glucose  levels. As a diabetic, this is one of the health choices you want to make.  Trust me on this one.

Some Diabetes 101:
You need insulin for cells to use sugars. Type 1 Diabetics do not produce insulin, and need to take insulin shots or injections. Food makes blood sugar go up. Insulin makes it go down. Too much sugar for too long damages the body. Too little blood sugar makes you pass out. The job of a Type 1 diabetic is to walk  a tightrope and keep the blood sugar in a certain range. Diabetics use a glucometer to test their blood sugar.

(NOTE: This is a dramatic oversimplification. Stress raises blood sugar levels. Exercise will help drop it. But you get the picture). 


 
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Step 1: Time to Play with Math!

Blood glucose is the amount of sugar in your blood.  The normal range for blood glucose on a fast is 80 to 110 milligrams per deciliter. As a diabetic, I fudge a little on that range...I might fall below 80 or run up a little higher. But the goal is to keep the blood glucose in a fairly tight range.

One important lesson for the diabetic is how to calculate an insulin correction factor. The insulin correction factor (or insulin sensitivity factor) is a bolus of insulin to bring down a higher than range blood sugar level. In order to know this factor, you need to know how much one unit of rapid-acting insulin will drop the blood sugar! Time to play with math!

Very useful article! Never heard of the Rule of 1800 before but it seems easy enough.
ftking_83702 (author)  diabeticseniors1 year ago
Thank you. I have been on a hiatus from instructables, but may have to author some new ones. I appreciate your comment. -r
I've been an insulin-resistant type 1 for 19 of my 23 years on this planet. Sadly, even with a formula, some days it'll work and some days it won't. Also not lucky enough to have a pump. One kidney currently not very happy but I'm working on it :\
gavn4 years ago
3 years T1 now...I use to follow a rule that roughly says that 1 unit of insulin makes the sugar in blood go down about 50mg/dl. So if I'm 250 and my goal is 100, the bolus must be 3 units. That´s useful if you don't use insulin pump, you can't inject 0,5 unit...
ftking_83702 (author)  gavn4 years ago
Thanks for sharing. I recall the prepump days, and having those sort of correction guidelines are very useful! -r
mjrodriguez4 years ago
it looks like if you were a bad diabetic patient and you try to justify your meal sins...  Diabetes is a really hard disease and you will not try to make a game in it's control... This procedure can put your kidneys in troubles in short...
ftking_83702 (author)  mjrodriguez4 years ago
Huh. I've been a Type 1 for 17 years and on the pump for 10 (The D-Tron and now the Accuchek Spirit). The Rule of 1800 is a well-recognized general way to start figuring out an individualized high blood sugar bolus. There are other methods, but this is a common one. High blood glucose levels happen, (whether from a miscalculation in carbs, or for the pump user the infusion site goes bad), and it is important to have a system in place. I would use the Rule of 1800 as a starting place.

Uh...I am not sure how a method of correcting a high blood sugar would be bad. The goal is control.
Type 1 for 49 years. (I'm 51.) Anyone not familiar with T1 doesn't realize that good control may not look like it from a "text book" (translation: what a non-diabetic's body does) standpoint and sometimes for some unfathomable reason, the sugar just spikes. I'm in good control (A1Cs under 7) and I have "those days" when nothing goes right. I've never seen the Rule of 1800 but I like it. I'm going to start playing with it (Hey, it's a deadly disease, might as well "enjoy" what we can, eh?) to see if it's easier than my method (which is "knowing because I've had it for 49 years & MUST know in order to keep on keeping on!) Thanks for posting this!!