How To Test Basal Insulin Levels

by mratner

For five days in a row, I woke up with 200+ readings. Okay, a pattern. I get it. So back to basal testing to make the necessary adjustments to my pump settings. So I tested every two hours last night and ran low 100’s, then get up this morning with a 71. If anything, that indicates my basal insulin needs to be reduced a few hours before waking. Zoinks! So I’ll see what I wake up to tomorrow and retest if needed. But it brings up a good point: do you know how to test your basal insulin levels?

For pump users especially, because we can adjust our settings, this is a very important piece of info. Even if you are on MDI therapy, it is still a must-have piece of info. How it works:

Eat your normal dinner at least four hours before heading to bed. Then don’t eat again until the next day. No food! Not even a skittle. 🙂

Set an alarm to go off every two hours. Something annoying that can’t be ignored is good.

Test just before going to bed and write down your bgl. If it anywhere between 100 and 250, don’t do anything to correct.

Every two hours, when that super annoying alarm goes off, test and record your bgl.

If the numbers stay within a thirty point range, you’re great. Don’t make any changes.

If they drop or increase more than 30 points, talk to your doc about adjusting your basal levels.

My doc has me increase or decrease in 10% increments as needed to make adjustment. Example: I have my basal insulin set at .5 units/hour. A 10% decrease to lessen the amount of basal insulin (if my numbers drop more than 30 points between any two testings) would put me at .45 units/hour. The basal adjustment has to be set for somewhere between 1 and 2 hours prior to the change in bg readings to allow time for the adjustment to take place.

BUT REMEMBER! If this whole basal testing thing is new to you (or even if it isn’t), talk to your doc!!! before making changes to your regimen.