If you think you have taken your insulin twice or taken more or less than you need at that particular point in time, you should not panic, but follow a plan designed to ensure that you do not experience serious consequences from this.
First of all, it is surprising how often taking too much insulin does not actually lead to a seriously low level of blood glucose.
Having said that, a careful response is needed if you suspect that you have taken too much insulin.
In the case of too little insulin, it is often sufficient to monitor the glucose carefully—about every couple of hours is generally sufficient to detect any problems and address them—and be sure to take the right amount at the next scheduled dosage.
A brief exposure to high glucose is usually not harmful (unless it is a repetitive event) and the glucose may take 24 hours or so to settle back to its usual pattern.
If the reduced dosage is noted quickly, such as before eating the upcoming meal, then the remaining amount can be given. If the meal is underway already, then a slightly smaller meal or subsequent snack can be eaten.
If the problem is noted later and the blood sugar is very high, then some additional (supplemental) insulin can be taken to bring it down.
The best approach can vary among different diabetics and your doctor or diabetes educator will have a recommendation for a supplemental scale that may be right for you in these circumstances.
In the case of having taken too much insulin, the blood glucose should also be monitored every couple of hours and a snack should be kept with you until you feel comfortable that the danger of a serious low blood sugar has passed.
You should not drive, work at heights, or operate heavy or dangerous machinery during this time.
Many people with insulin-requiring diabetes keep a kit containing a syringe of glucagon, a hormone that counteracts the effects of insulin.
If the blood sugar falls rapidly and oral glucose, sugar, or a snack is ineffective, glucagon can be given and will usually reverse the falling glucose within a few minutes.
Your doctor can prescribe such a kit for you to keep on hand if you feel it is necessary and reassuring.
If you recall that you have taken your insulin twice or taken too much fairly soon after having already done so, then you can take some additional carbohydrate at the meal or a larger-than-usual snack between meals.
Please email firstname.lastname@example.org or leave your comments below.