I’ve been trying to figure out how to illustrate to everyone just how SMALL a unit of insulin actually is. I’ve written about it before (here) and wanted to try to take a picture this time but I am definitely not skilled enough to pull it off… I tried … epic FAIL 😉
So – here goes another attempt to describe it..
ONE unit of insulin can drop Eden’s blood sugar levels 130 points if given without food
ONE unit of insulin is a very small drop of liquid – much, much smaller than an image that comes to mind of a droplet of water
ONE unit of insulin is incredibly potent as described below
For Eden (remember all T1D are different)
- At breakfast – ONE unit of insulin will cover eating 10 grams of carbohydrates
= to half a piece of bread
- At lunch – ONE unit of insulin will cover eating 15 grams of carbohydrates
= to a medium sized apple
- After school – ONE unit of insulin will cover eating 16 grams of carbohydrates
= to a large sized nectarine
- At dinner – ONE unit of insulin will cover eating 22 grams of carbohydrates
= to half a cup of pasta
These are referred to as CARB RATIOS and it is very common for Type 1 Diabetics to have different ones at different times of the day.
Think about our buffet dinner over the weekend for a moment and a few of the things on her plate and how EASILY something could go wrong…
1/2 cup pasta = 22gm
fruit = 10gm
salad = 0gm – not enough to bother with
pizza = 25gm
bread roll = 30gm
choc muffin = 50gm
cookie = 20gm
ice cream = 30gm
= TOTAL carbs = 187gm (YES – that is a LOT of carbs)
187gm divided by 22 (her dinner time carb ratio) = 8.5 units of insulin
This is just an illustration but please REMEMBER – ALL of these carb counts were total, complete and utter guesses… YES – we have been doing this for almost 4 years now – but we do NOT know the exact counts for these foods. If our guesses/ counts were off by 22gms (for example the pasta she did not eat) Eden would have received ONE full unit MORE of insulin than required – potentially dropping her blood sugar dangerously LOW..
How many carbs do you think were on your plate for dinner last night??? Try figuring it out day in day out – every.single.day.
exhausting … and that is just to EAT.. something the most of us do mindlessly
So… even though I cannot physically show you a picture of the small DROP of insulin I am describing – please know.. a DROP of insulin is MUCH MORE than just a drop..
Life saving – but could be just as easily be life threatening if too much is given. Eating is something that is done multiple times a day – but only a very small part of living with and balancing Type 1 Diabetes..
all day – every.single.day.