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Diabetes Sliding Scale & Insulin Administration

By Demetria Jackson ; Updated August 14, 2017

Diabetes is a condition of inappropriate glucose metabolism causing glucose, or blood sugar, to remain in the blood in higher than normal levels. Under normal conditions, your pancreas releases insulin to control glucose levels. In diabetes, your pancreas either does not produce any or not enough insulin to keep blood glucose at the desired level. If left uncontrolled, diabetic complications can affect your eyes, heart and kidneys.


Your body functions best when your blood sugar is less than 126. A diagnosis of diabetes is made when your fasting blood glucose is over this value. according to the American Diabetes Association. Type 1 diabetes is associated with a pancreas which does not produce any insulin. Type 2 diabetes is the most common type and is characterized by insufficient production of insulin.


Your physician will initially recommend lifestyle changes should you be found to have type 2 diabetes. Should diet and activity changes not be effective in controlling blood sugar, oral anti-diabetic medication may be prescribed. If you continue to have difficulty managing your type 2 diabetes, or if you have type 1 diabetes, your physician will order scheduled doses of injected insulin.


There are many types of insulin used in treatment. The types differ in how quickly they act to lower blood glucose and the duration of action. In order to determine the most effective regimen, your physician most likely will have you to check your blood sugar up to four times a day. Based on the results, he may order that you take a consistent dose of insulin up to four times a day. For example, your insulin administration regimen may be 5 units of insulin in the morning and 3 units in the evening.

Sliding Scale

Another option your physician may employ to keep your blood glucose levels more consistent is prescribing insulin administration based on a sliding scale. Sliding scale insulin administration requires that you check your blood sugar four times a day, typically before meals and at bedtime, and determine the amount of insulin to inject based on the results. For instance, yesterday your morning blood sugar reading was 186. Per your sliding scale, you administered 2 units of insulin. Today, your morning reading was 280 and you gave yourself 5 units as prescribed.


You should not guess your blood sugar or the amount of insulin to administer at any time as it may cause your blood sugar to drop too low. Keeping and following the sliding scale administration regimen prescribed by your doctor will help you to reduce the risk of hypoglycemia, or low blood sugar. On the other hand, if you administer less than the amount indicated by the prescribed sliding scale, you could increase your risk of developing diabetes-related complications as your blood sugar would be not controlled. Should you not understand the regimen, please address that immediately with your doctor.

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